Castaic Union School District officials have notified Einstein Academy officials and Acton Agua Dulce Unified officials that their recent charter school approvals are a violation of the state’s Education Code.
If a resolution is not reached, Castaic officials plan to seek an injunction against Einstein officials’ plans to build an elementary school in their district’s boundaries, according to Castaic Union Superintendent Jim Gibson.
Charter law allows for a chartering district to approve one site outside of its district boundaries, assuming that all possible options with the chartering district’s borders have been exhausted and that the governing district in that area has been notified.
Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District governing board members approved two charter school locations for Einstein Academy with a 3-2 vote May 16.
The issue for CUSD officials is that they claiming they weren’t properly notified.
“There’s no enforcement mechanism for that part of the (state’s) Educational Code,” said Gibson, who added that as of Tuesday, he still had not been formally notified about Einstein Academy’s plans.
Jeffrey Shapiro, executive director for Einstein Academy, said the point is moot for two reasons — the AADUSD petition grants the school permission to open a charter school anywhere in the Santa Clarita Valley, and all five area district superintendents must have known Einstein officials’ intentions because they all co-wrote a protest letter.
Gibson contends that a protest letter doesn’t qualify as proper notice.
“The purpose of the notification in that section of charter law is to prepare a district that’s going to have a charter school to be aware that they may be losing students in the future,” Gibson said. “If you have that notification, then you could consider the amount of students you might lose., do you need to release teachers, do you need to change your budget.”
A school district needs to plan for its teachers and attendance, which is how the state determines how much funding a district will receive, Gibson said.
AADUSD officials thought they were approving a charter school within Saugus Union School District boundaries, according to AADUSD board member Ed Porter.
Porter also called the difference in site a technicality, saying that he still supported the move.
Einstein officials submitted an application for County School District codes for an elementary and a secondary school at 25300 Rye Canyon Road on May 24.
The Einstein Academy site was moved from its previously planned address on Copper Hill Road to a location on Rye Canyon Road after the charter school received approval, Shapiro said.
The new site is about a mile from where the school operates a junior high and high school under the William S. Hart Union High School District officials’ oversight.
The charter petition OKs one site in the Santa Clarita Valley, an elementary school, and another site, a junior high and high school, in the San Fernando Valley.
Shapiro said Einstein Academy officials didn’t know about their move into Castaic Union territory until after they had received approval from AADUSD.