[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 18
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]

Lack of enforcement provisions in the current law enables charter schools to skirt it and disregard the limited reasons and procedures for locating outside of their authorizing district.
| Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014

Brian WaltersIn the wake of Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of Senate Bill 1263, it is vital to address continued misunderstandings and incorrect information about how the bill would have affected charter schools.

First, a word about charter schools. They are public – not private or parochial-religious – schools established via a “charter” submitted to and approved by a public school district with the legal jurisdiction to grant it and provide mandated oversight.

They are required to comply with virtually all the same laws and standards as regular public schools and are legally required to represent the local community’s demographics.

I am personally pro-charter. I attended the formation meetings in support of SCVi, operating in the Santa Clarita Valley within the jurisdiction of the William S. Hart Union High School District.

The Albert Einstein Academy Letters of Arts and Sciences High School, also chartered by the Hart School District, likewise has a valid charter and would have been unaffected by SB 1263.

The bill was designed to protect legally established charters and better serve charters that follow the rules. If approved, the bill would have allowed a charter school to locate outside its authorizing school district during a construction project or with the permission of the host school district. A grandfather clause would have protected charter schools approved prior to April 2013 to ensure continuity for students currently attending those charter schools. The bill contained exemptions for certain specialty charters that have good reasons for operating outside their authorizing districts.

The bill had the endorsement of the California State PTA, the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, the San Diego Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Each board member with whom I work takes our oath of office seriously. We are tasked with providing proper oversight to protect educational excellence for students, ensure safe and appropriate facilities, and ensure the responsible and proper use of taxpayer dollars without charging students illegal fees (for things such as school transportation, non-exempt course fees and laptops or other technology) within our respective geographic boundaries for a free public education.

Contrary to false allegations that SB 1263 was a personal attack, the support of the legislation and the filing of the Newhall School District’s lawsuit against the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District and one of its charter schools was the direct result of board members in the Santa Clarita Valley upholding their oaths of office and defending state law against institutions that seek to abuse it.

The state Legislature understood that the issues addressed in SB 1263 were about these matters of law and jurisdiction, not about the merits of charter schools or parental choice. Those are red herrings used by people who want the rest of us to ignore the fact that the law is being violated, because they believe the ends justify the illicit means.

I am pro-charter but not pro-anarchy.

In fact, even as Gov. Brown vetoed SB 1263 due to his disagreement with the structure of its grandfathering provisions, he acknowledged the valid bigger-picture issues raised by the legislation.

“Unfortunately, it appears that some districts and charter schools have gone against the spirit of the law and the exemption has instead become the rule,” the governor wrote in his veto message, in which he also announced he has “assembled a team to examine this situation and come back with solutions that minimize disruption to students and parents.”

So, we may yet hear more from Sacramento on this issue.

This was not about a single school. It was about good statewide policy affecting many schools, as there are dozens of charter schools that would have been impacted, many of them with respect to legitimizing their location. Lack of enforcement provisions in current law enables charter schools to disregard the limited reasons and procedures for placement outside of a district’s geographic boundaries and intentionally violate jurisdictional rights. In a nutshell, the law allows a charter school to operate outside the boundaries of its authorizing district if the school is undergoing construction, or if space is unavailable within the boundaries of the authorizing district.

If SB 1263 had been signed into law, it would not have closed charter schools as some have claimed. At most, it would have caused the sites established outside of the proper jurisdictions to move back to the chartering districts’ geographic areas, where they could legally operate.

Although authorizing school districts have mandatory oversight responsibility over charter schools, many times they have a financial incentive to keep the charter school operating outside of their geographical boundaries. The small and fiscally distressed Acton-Agua Dulce district, for example, has authorized 21 charter schools in recent years.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education has confirmed that the Acton-Agua Dulce district is unable to meet its financial obligations in the current or subsequent fiscal year, and a recent state-ordered solvency study points to the district’s poor financial performance and misuse of charter approvals as some of the reasons the Acton-Agua Dulce district is in danger of being taken over by the state. The district has publicly stated it is using the oversight fees generated by authorizing charter schools to address its financial needs.

There is a growing number of charter schools in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, as well as across the state, attempting to locate outside of their authorizing school districts – abusing the provisions of the current charter school law.

This situation has left litigation as the only recourse, because the abuse of the current exceptions is not being enforced by any legislative body or administrative agency. In addition to the Newhall School District, lawsuits have already been brought by the Los Angeles Unified School District (the biggest charter authorizer in the state), the Pasadena Unified School District and the San Diego Unified School District.

Before offending school sites were opened in these jurisdictions, cease-and-desist letters were sent to warn the offending districts and charters not to open illegally outside of their established borders. The letters were disregarded, as was the judge’s warning in the lawsuit prior to opening the offending sites. The judge warned the Acton-Agua Dulce district’s legal counsel and the charter school that if they chose to open the extra-territorial sites, and lost at trial, they could not complain to the court because they willfully and knowingly were putting their charter students at risk of being relocated.

It is unsurprising that this information has not been shared by the Acton-Agua Dulce district or by the charter school, which had its charter petition denied seven times by four different government agencies because of a failure to meet the minimum legal standards. While the lawsuits seek to address individual school district and charter-school violators of the law, SB 1263 could have provided clarity to fix the recent and future abuse by school districts and charter schools statewide while legitimizing otherwise law-abiding districts and charter schools.

The children of our communities deserve the best education possible, whether through traditional public schools or nontraditional charter schools. Regardless, we board members will faithfully discharge our responsibility to ensure those educational opportunities exceed bare-minimum legal standards and are made available through proper, legal channels.


Brian Walters is president of the Newhall School District Governing Board. His column reflects his own opinions.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. Deirdre Bingman says:

    On the flip side, why would a governing Board Allow a charter school in their jurisdiction? Seems like the Board has no incentive to allow a school that will siphon of students and funding from them. So, there has to be balance. The fox can’t watch the hen-house. I think there needs to be an appeals process to the Board of Education or other neutral body if a charter is denied within a jurisdiction’s boundaries. Otherwise, there is a conflict of interest.

  2. The charter was denied because it didn’t meet “minimum legal standards.” That’s rich. Please feel free to enlighten us on those specific standards not met. Try not to spin it.

    • It looks like he did say what those specific standards are. He said: “The law allows a charter school to operate outside the boundaries of its authorizing district if the school is undergoing construction, or if space is unavailable within the boundaries of the authorizing district.”

    • I was referring to the original charter petition being denied over and over which had nothing to do with location

    • Don’t remember, but you should find the answers in the news stories on our SCVNews.com website, when it was current news. (Seem to recall deficiencies with respect to special-needs students, but it might have been more than that. Anyway it would be in the news stories.)

  3. It’s interesting to me that in some of this opinion piece he talks about charger schools as a whole, and in some he specifically targets aea. All while saying it benefits charters and districts but never mentioning aea by name. When we all know, right or wrong, aes is the target. Maybe we need to worry less about where they are located and more about why families by the hundreds are leaving local districts to go there.

  4. Seems to me that it is massaging the facts to say that AADUSD violated the law. It acted within the law as it is written. And it is further disingenuous to say SB1263 did not target AEA given the specific retroactive date. Interesting too that the author completely ignores the financial impact on his district while pointing to the financial incentive of AADUSD. Yet nothing whatsoever suggesting AEA is being mismanaged or violating its charter, which is what he professes to be so concerned about.

  5. Not to mention that the local district here is intentionally trying to keep a good charter out- they don’t like the competition because it makes them look bad.

  6. Not to mention that the local district here is intentionally trying to keep a good charter out- they don’t like the competition because it makes them look bad.

  7. Not to mention that the local district here is intentionally trying to keep a good charter out- they don’t like the competition because it makes them look bad.

  8. Veronica says:

    I find it interesting that the person writing this article has also fought strongly against some of those charter schools. I say, “What’s the threat?” If your district meets those ‘minimum standards’ then allowing a charter school to operate within your border should be no problem. Why the opposition? Are you afraid of the ‘competition’ the charter may create to improve your schools? The comparisons to quality? If you feel your schools are up to the test then why oppose? This isn’t about legality of a charter….this is about forcing a district to ‘cut the fat’ and operate under a new standard that puts the students’ needs first!

  9. Vicki McClure says:

    I was interested to see this article was written by a traditional public school board president, which gave helpful perspective as I was reading. I work for a large charter school that serves many families as an alternative to the traditional classroom. If the bill had passed, one of our Resource Centers would have been shut down (we would have had to choose who doesn’t get tutoring anymore), and the other one only could have stayed open with the permission of the local district (which is not the sponsoring district), and that wasn’t likely to happen. The truth is that the bill would have taken away parental choice, and funneled money back into the traditional school districts, or at least attempted to. The families I work with would have gone to a private ISP or filed their own R-4 to stay out of traditional school. I felt the need to present the facts here of what legally would have happened to the charter I work for, which is not included in the above opinion piece.

  10. “The small and fiscally distressed Acton-Agua Dulce district, for example, has authorized 21 charter schools in recent years.” 21?!

  11. This charter school is scrambling so much that the kids are the ones left suffering. They have ONE school counselor for THREE schools that traveled around. My 4 year old child was struggling and even though they knew it and agreed that she may have not been ready for full kindergarten, they also admitted that they were unable to do anything until she was assessed by the counselor. I was told: “We only have our school psychologist on a part time basis, usually one day per week. Legally, we must assess and service those kids where the law mandates us to do so first. After those kids are legally serviced, then we move in with others to get an initial assessment.” I have the emails to back it up!!! My poor kid had horrible self esteem issues last year due to her inability to keep up because this school was too busy spending money trying to get one over on the other district to focus on the MOST IMPORTANT thing – the children. We were given the run around for MONTHS over it. I knew within a month of school starting that something wasn’t right and brought my concerns to the teacher and then the principal. I was told over and over again that nothing could be done for her until she was assessed and that I wasn’t allowed to pull her until it was done.

    THE ONLY THING THEY HAD TO SAY TO ME WHEN I PULLED HER FROM SCHOOL was “I do apologize, and am sorry that you feel very disappointed.”


    Pull your kids before they get hosed too.

  12. K Pfalzgraf says:

    While each side is bound to put their own spin on the story, Mr. Walters seems pretty spot on with his interpretation of the issues. Over here in Acton, the spin from the AADUSD Superintendent is quite different. Superintendent Woodard is seen on video announcing that AB1263 was “killed” and that his own school board could expect not to see any action on the bill for “a year”. He paints a picture that his lobbying efforts with Senate members who will craft verbiage that will help AADUSD and his upcoming personal meeting with the Governor will sway the tide. No reference to legal matters. Towards the end of the meeting, the board announced that the Superintendent’s performance review had been completed. Watch for yourself (discussion of FCMAT report on AADUSD fiscal condition begins at 5 minute mark, discussion on SB1263 starts at 7 minute mark, Superintendent performance review at 31:30 minute mark ): https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUB2WpO3l8ZjJuuB4OVS4WRA&feature=player_detailpage&v=AkuN0_Kc7fw

    An editorial on my take on the SB1263 issue is here:

    Lower left of page reference to Governor’s veto:


    Finish on page 13 right column:


  13. As its all still up in the air, opening a new school before the final verdict is in is against the interest of the students.

  14. As its all still up in the air, opening a new school before the final verdict is in is against the interest of the students.

  15. David Chlystek says:

    Contrary to your opinion, Mr. Walters it appears that the Governor agreed with the numerous parents when he put in his reasons for the veto, that it was indeed, unfair to exclude certain schools from the grandfather clause.

    And if your primary concern was to uphold the law, why exempt some schools while others who may have exploited the same loophole, were not.

    Certainly seems like an attack to my eyes. Especially considering that the Newhall school district has suffered from AEA taking away their students, (and dollars).

    If Newhall felt that their school system is as superior as they would like everyone to believe, then why not let AEA fail on it’s own merits? AEA’s waitlist seems to invalidate that claim. Not to mention the good that the school continues to do for the community. A point that you fail to mention when defending your actions.

Leave a Comment

Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
It makes good sense to review your coverage each year. Make sure your plan still is a good fit for you in terms of cost, coverage, and quality.
Thursday, Oct 4, 2018
Local entrepreneurs, industry leaders and business owners are looking for employees who can communicate clearly, whether writing or speaking; effectively collaborate on teams; and quickly make decisions that benefit both the company and its customers.
Tuesday, Oct 2, 2018
Canyon Country is known as a major residential area in our City, as well as a popular commercial and retail spot.
Monday, Oct 1, 2018
In her message for October 2018, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste invites the community to the annual State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
Not being able to record and document what Knight and Hill stated during the debate makes it difficult for our community to hold both of them accountable to what they say.
Friday, Sep 14, 2018
Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage have different benefits and costs that you should consider based on your personal needs. Medicare open enrollment season runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and it’s a good idea to know how the two types of Medicare work before you select one.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation presents its latest “Recreation After Dark” event, “Goin’ Country at Hart.”
Oct. 19: Goin’ Country at Hart to Feature Moldy Marvin, Highway 138
ARCADIA, Calif. — On Wednesday, Jerry Perez officially reported to the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, where he will serve as the new Forest Supervisor, replacing Jeff Vail, who accepted the position of deputy director for Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Resources in the Forest Service’s Washington Office.
New Angeles National Forest Supervisor Excited About New Position
Le Chene French Cuisine has announced that they will be hosting two special events coming to you in November.
Le Chene Invites Residents to November Celebrations
The Valencia High School Marching Band and Color Guard held their first major fundraising event for their band season.
Valencia High School Marching Band Appreciates Support from Community
The city of Santa Clarita will present three music-related sessions at the 2018 Arts Symposium at The Centre on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Oct. 20: Art Symposium to Stage 3 Music Sessions
It makes good sense to review your coverage each year. Make sure your plan still is a good fit for you in terms of cost, coverage, and quality.
How to Shop for Medicare Plans | Commentary by Greg Dill
StarKist Co. has agreed to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of packaged seafood sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
StarKist Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing
The First Presbyterian Church of Newhall will be performing “The Green Velvet Christmas Dress.”
Newhall Church to Present ‘The Green Velvet Christmas Dress’
Decorated with fun embellishments such as puffy paint, tulle fabric, feathers and even bubble wrap, artist Georgette Arison’s mixed-media art in “Dressing Up is Fun,” the newest art exhibit at the Newhall Community Center, uses unconventional methods to showcase costume design.
‘Dressing Up is Fun’ Exhibit Now Showcasing at Newhall Community Center
Celebrating its 5th anniversary this year, the Santa Clarita Oktoberfest is a Southern California twist on the original Oktoberfest held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
Oct. 19, 20: Santa Clarita Oktoberfest
College of the Canyons has been ranked No. 29 by the Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine’s Top 100 colleges and universities list for graduating Hispanic students.
Hispanic Outlook Ranks COC No. 29 on Top 100 List
Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, a United States Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and a graduate of Saugus High School who died on April 4 during a routine aerial training flight in the Nevada Test and Training Range, lost consciousness before the fatal crash, according to a report released by the Air Force.
Report: Santa Clarita Thunderbirds Pilot Lost Consciousness Before Crash
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to close 62 campground pit toilets, considered to be large capacity cesspools, at seven national forests across California.
Forest Service Forced to Close Cesspools in State’s National Forests
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) released its annual account Wednesday of hate crimes reported throughout Los Angeles County in 2017.
LA County Hate Crimes Continue to Rise
Sheriff Jim McDonnell has named Sergio Perez, a Los Angeles native, as his Constitutional Policing Advisor to assist the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) in sustaining reform and advancing justice for the diverse communities we serve.
LASD Names New Constitutional Policing Adviser
Every year, department members who perform acts of great courage and heroism, who go above and beyond the call of duty to save the lives of others while placing their own lives at risk, are honored and recognized at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony.
LASD Department Members, Private Citizens Recognized at Award Ceremony
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
The Probation Reform and Implementation Team met Wednesday to discuss a new mission and vision for the nation’s largest Probation Department, and consider an organizational structure that supports separate adult and juvenile probation operations in Los Angeles County.
County Officials Weigh Juvenile, Adult Probation Reform
"Hedda Gabler" is the first CalArts School of Theater MFA production of the school year, running Nov. 2-10 in Ensemble Room II, E407 on the CalArts campus in Valencia.
Nov. 2-10: CalArts MFA Director Bonnell Revives Ibsen’s ‘Hedda Gabler’
David Rosenboom will step down as Dean and join the regular faculty of the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts at the end of the spring 2020 semester.
Rosenboom to Exit as Dean, Join Faculty of Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts
Following a recent report by a Pennsylvania grand jury that detailed a widespread cover-up of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, which involved more than 1,000 children and more than 300 priests, a civil suit was filed Oct. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of a Camarillo resident.
Suit Targets Priests; Report ID’s 5 from SCV’s Past
College of the Canyons has been named a 2018 Champion of Higher Education for Excellence in Transfer by The Campaign for College Opportunity.
COC Named a 2018 Champion of Higher Education
Here's a look at how The Master's University sports team rank in the latest polls.
Peek at the Polls: TMU Women’s Volleyball Holds at No. 11
Supervisors voted Tuesday to develop a proposal for a comprehensive, trauma-informed and gender-responsive job training program at Century Regional Detention Facility that prepares female inmates for employment after release.
County to Create Job Center for Jailed Women
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will present "Breast Health Demystified: An Evening of Awareness" at the Henry Mayo Center in Valencia on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Oct. 23: Breast Health Evening of Awareness at Henry Mayo
A conservation group sued Los Angeles County on Tuesday seeking emails, text messages and other documents exchanged with the developer behind the 12,000-acre Centennial at Tejon Ranch planned community on the edge of the Mojave Desert.
LA County Sued for Records on Centennial Housing Project
Oscar-nominated producer Jennifer Fox will produce the 10th Annual Governors Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, Nov. 18.
Nov. 18: Jennifer Fox to Produce Academy’s 2018 Governors Awards
"Rock the Polls," a free, non-partisan concert featuring up and coming Los Angeles-area bands and the opportunity for students to register to vote, is set for the Newhall Family Theater on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Oct. 21: ‘Rock the Polls’ Concert, Student Voter Registration Drive
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn on Tuesday directing the Department of Public Health to develop a countywide typhus prevention and response plan.
Supes OK Typhus Response Plan, Program for Homeless Population
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to update local ordinances to address the emerging threats to public health posed by electronic cigarettes and cannabis.
County Updates Smoking Restrictions to Include Vaping, Cannabis
In two years, California voters will have the chance to approve wholesale changes to a landmark property tax code and squeeze billions in new taxes from state businesses.
Property-Tax Reform Plan Qualifies for 2020 California Ballot
The U.S. Postal Service has launched an app that lets residents see what's coming in their daily mail.
Preview What’s in Your Daily Mail with New USPS App
A federal judge Tuesday questioned what harm the government would face if it had to implement a pending settlement agreement to grant asylum interviews to families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the since-abandoned zero-tolerance immigration policy.
Feds Stall on Family Asylum Claims Until Final Settlement Approval
1837 - Trapper Peter LaBeck killed by grizzly bear at El Tejon [story]
The Family Focus Resource Center at California State University, Northridge will host its annual Special Needs Resource Fair – a daylong celebration focused on connecting families with special needs children to resources that can help them thrive – on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Oct. 21: CSUN Hosting Special Needs Resource Fair