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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Intermittent clouds
Intermittent clouds
86°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 21
1941 - Ernie Hickson buys out Trem Carr's interest in their Monogram movie ranch, renames it "Placeritos" (later called Melody). [story]


Commentary by Ken Pfalzgraf
| Monday, Apr 27, 2015

KenPfalzgrafPreface: I am an Acton resident and Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District (AADUSD) school board observer. My last piece [here] gave readers an inside look at the struggles one has in breaching the wall of attorneys that the school district has set up to keep its future course secret as it invades educational communities throughout Southern California. This time, we’ll look at AADUSD’s boldest move yet: taking a shard off of a petition for a charter school that never opened due to a lawsuit, and attempting to use a doctored-up version of that same petition, and a buried process, to tiptoe in for a 3-percent cut of the 90210.

 

I sent an email request to the Acton-Agua Dulce school superintendent and the board president on the morning of April 22 for the board meeting packet for the April 23 meeting. I requested documents for agenda items 10.1 and 10.2, specifically: “Petition/material revision/enclosures/staff reports/verification of permission to open charter in Beverly Hills from Beverly Hills Unified School District for AEA (Albert Einstein Academy) Odyssey charter school.”

I was notified by email at 5:12 p.m. on the 22nd that the packet was ready and that I would be able to pick it up after 9 a.m. the next day. Paging through the packet, I found none of the information I had requested for the agenda items, even though it clearly listed “Enclosure Odyssey (material revision).” (See April 23, 2015 agenda [here]).

Was I surprised the school district was providing absolutely no information for its constituents to inform themselves before having the “opportunity” to participate in a public hearing? No. Transparency is in short supply in Acton-Agua Dulce.

Luckily, I had a bit of information to go on. I knew the Albert Einstein Academy “Odyssey” charter petition began its life when it was approved by the AADUSD board on June 12, 2014. At that time, it was to be located in the San Fernando Valley.

That Odyssey charter never opened because the Los Angeles Unified School District filed suit against the Acton-Agua Dulce district for venturing into LAUSD boundaries without approval.

Fast-forward to just a couple of weeks ago. In closed session, the Acton-Agua Dulce school board approved a settlement in the LAUSD vs. AADUSD charter school lawsuit. Included was a stipulation that the charter school would not open in the San Fernando Valley.

I’m betting AADUSD had to pick up the legal fees for all parties in the lawsuit (Los Angeles Superior Court case No. BS149062). I guess that I’ll have to do a records request to find that out.

Wait a minute, Pfalzgraf. Don’t tell us you’re saying the new Beverly Hills-Einstein Odyssey charter is the same charter petition for the LAUSD site that the LAUSD sued over? And that Acton-Agua Dulce, instead of vetting a new petition for the Beverly Hills site, is trying to pawn it off as a “material revision” to keep it under the radar?

FYI: A material revision to an existing charter petition typically means minor changes have been made. I guess moving the whole school, which never really existed, 25 miles from a school district, which has just sued you, into yet another school district is of those “minor changes.” Maybe that’s why I wasn’t given any of the documents I requested before the meeting, especially the “verification of permission to open charter in Beverly Hills from Beverly Hills Unified School District for AEA Odyssey charter school” part of my request.

Next, I found it odd that agenda tabs 10.1 and 10.2 were stacked on the same agenda. 10.1 was for a public hearing during which the Acton-Agua Dulce board would have the opportunity to consider input from its constituents and/or from representatives of the district where the charter would be sited, and factor that input into the board’s decision. Yet, tab 10.2 suggests that “the board approve Resolution No. 14-15.10 AEALAS-Odyssey’s material revision as presented.”

Apparently, the superintendent is psychic, knowing what the public input would be, how the board would factor that input into its decision, and what the outcome would be, that the board would be ready to approve the charter within minutes of the public hearing – all three days before the meeting occurred. That’s impressive. Remind me to call the superintendent’s office on Tuesday night for Friday’s Powerball numbers.

Ring, ring. “It’s Pfalzgraf.” “Have the attorney answer it.”

With absolutely no information coming from the Acton-Agua Dulce district, I decided to see if the Internet could tell me anything about how Beverly Hills feels about the “materially revised” charter school coming into the 90210. Just my luck, there it was: an article on the front page of the April 24 e-edition of the Beverly Hills Courier, loaded onto the web already.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District superintendent was quoted as saying: “Normally, a charter school would come in through a local governing board. Unfortunately, they’re coming in and establishing a charter school in our district boundaries without BHUSD consent.”

The article went on to say: “Board of Education VP Howard Goldstein said the district originally entertained the idea of Odyssey coming into Beverly Hills but changed its tune once it became known that it was unlikely to be cost-neutral, as it was originally proposed.” (See “ Odyssey Charter School Prepares Move Into Beverly Hills Amidst Controversy” pages 1, 18 [here]).

Acton-Agua Dulce's superintendent and a board member peruse the Beverly Hills Courier article on their attempt to charter a school in 90210 land.

Acton-Agua Dulce’s superintendent and a board member peruse the Beverly Hills Courier article on their attempt to charter a school in the 90210.

From what I had read, the Beverly Hills crowd wasn’t too excited about what was about to happen at the Acton-Agua Dulce school board meeting. I arrived just in time to catch the board members coming out of closed session. Being the good citizen I am, I handed my home-printed copy of the Beverly Hills Courier article to the board president, just in case the board had not checked in with Beverly Hills Unified before approving a charter in that district. A cake break at the conclusion of the Acton-Agua Dulce Teacher of the Year celebration (good job MVO!) provided an opportunity for the now sullen-faced superintendent to have a couple of ad-hoc conversations with several less-than-jovial board members who each had their turn pointing at my Courier printout [here].

I finished my cake and turned in my speaker card for agenda item 10.1. I intended to comment on the origin and legal history of the Odyssey petition as I knew it and would finish out my three minutes by speed-reading the Courier piece into the record. I looked up to find the past president of the board leaning over the chair in front of me and advising me that items 10.1 and 10. 2 had been pulled from the agenda during closed session.

Were the items really pulled in closed session? We’ll never know. One thing is for sure: That Beverly Hills Courier article sure took attention away from the cake. Good job on helping everyone on the dais limit their carb intake, reporter Laura Coleman.

So why does this matter to me? First, school districts are assigned a fiscal “certification,” based on a district’s ability to meet its current and foreseeable fiscal obligations. Certifications are “positive” for schools that are fiscally sound, “qualified” for those having some trouble and “negative” for districts that cannot meet their fiscal obligations. When a district falls into “negative” certification and stays there for a couple of quarterly budget reports, the superintendent is relieved of his or her post and the school board dissolved. An appointed superintendent and board representative come in to guide the district back to solvency. No muss, no fuss, no charter plans and no education money being spent on charter boundary lawsuits while the local students bear the fiscal brunt of someone’s ill-fated “plan.”

Acton-Agua Dulce fell into negative certification in January 2014. On June 25, 2014, its superintendent appeared in front of the California Assembly Education Committee to speak to Senate Bill 1263, which was aimed directly at stopping Acton-Agua Dulce’s practice of sponsoring charters in the boundaries of other school districts strictly for the cash it generates.

At that hearing, the Acton-Agua Dulce superintendent was filmed saying: “The truth of it is that we are in a fiscal crisis as many of the schools, if you will, around the state of California are. However, we’re in the process of that remedy, and we’re to the point where we are going to be positively certified in a very short amount of time exclusive of any kind of revenue or indirect cost associated with the charter schools.” (See it for yourself [here].) The full SB1263 session can be accessed here: http://scvtv.com/?p=22219 (the fireworks starts at the 38 minute mark).

Apparently, “a short amount of time” is more than a year, because the AADUSD budget still requires $800,000 of charter school cut to maintain a positive certification. Acton-Agua Dulce budgeted nearly 5 percent of its 2014-2015 budget for special education and charter school-related lawsuits; that’s nearly $500 of educational resources being taken from each student who remains at home in Acton-Agua Dulce. With unsettled lawsuits and SB 739 aimed directly at the district’s charter “plan,” who knows how stable AADUSD’s skim off of out-boundary charter schools really is?

And still, the district is willing to recycle a legally defeated charter petition to another school district and risk yet another round of lawsuits and legal fees. Is this anything more than a self-fulfilling prophesy aimed at keeping a paycheck coming in that should have been cut off when a promise made a year ago could not be kept?

Is this what you envisioned when you made your choices in the ballot booth?

What does a school district 52 miles away that can’t be self-sufficient have to offer Beverly Hills?

So hey there, Jed, I wouldn’t be loading up that truck just yet. Maybe Jethro’s got a bit more cipherin’ to do because right now, it’s kind of looking like it’s going to be 9021-NO.

What about an Albert Einstein Academy in Beverly Hills? If I’m AEA, I’m petitioning Beverly Hills Unified directly. Why not keep the Beverly Hills district’s educational economy local?

And yes, my child continues to do well at the AEA campus she attends, which is sponsored by the district in which the campus is sited. Thanks for asking.

 

Ken Pfalzgraf is an Acton resident.

 

 

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.

10 Comments

  1. Chris Hulse Chris Hulse says:

    Way to go you rock!!! Enough is enough.

  2. I guess if these folks see this picture they are going to avoid all contact. Man, you are a very angry person just looking for a fight. Maybe Don Tellers sign |/ is true ;-)

  3. K Pfalzgraf says:

    Blame SCV TV for the picture. They had several to choose from including one with me dressed as an angel for Halloween, bedazzled halo and all. I even had some $5 aftershave on. Shame on SCV TV.

  4. K Pfalzgraf says:

    OK SCVTV you win.

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...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.
Monday, Jun 4, 2018
This summer, help your kids break away from Fortnite and YouTube – by signing them up for fun recreational opportunities offered by the City. Instead of screen time, their days can be filled with sunshine, learning, activity, arts, culture and much more.
Friday, Jun 1, 2018
In her June message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste details the best ways to enjoy the local trails and open space this summer.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
An already extremely tight inventory bumped into rising interest rates to further complicate home sales during May in the Santa Clarita Valley, which saw drops in home and condominium closed escrows compared to a year ago, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
SCV Home, Condo Sales Drop Amid Tight Inventory, Rising Interest Rates
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station are looking for a male suspect who stole a tip jar from a local coffee shop. Details below are from the Facebook page of the SCV Sheriff's Station:
Detectives Seek Public’s Help in Nabbing Tip Jar Thief
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting. There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.
July 28: Children’s Bureau Foster Care, Adoption Information Meeting
1941 - Ernie Hickson buys out Trem Carr's interest in their Monogram movie ranch, renames it "Placeritos" (later called Melody). [story]
CalArts alumna and faculty member Brigette Barrager (BFA Film/Video 07) was awarded the Christopher Award for Distinguished Achievement for her illustration of "Pocket Full of Colors."
CalArts Faculty Brigette Barrager Wins Christopher Award
"Window Lace," the first exhibit by CalArts students to be presented at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall, is now open on the mall's first floor across from H&M and will be on display through the end of summer 2018.
CalArts Opens its First Art Exhibit at Westfield Valencia Mall
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that Jennifer Todd has won the runoff election for the open Producers Branch seat on the 2018–19 Board of Governors.
Producer Jennifer Todd Voted to Academy Board of Governors
California's median home price reached a new high in May, while home sales retreated both on a monthly and annual basis, wiping out most of the gains posted for the year, the California Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
California Median Home Price Hits Record High, Sales Drop in May
In an effort to transform California’s relationship to energy markets in the western region of the country, lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a bill that would merge California into a regional energy market.
California’s Controversial Energy-Grid Bill Advances
Santa Clarita-based SOS Entertainment has been named the 38th Assembly District’s Business of the Year, Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) announced Wednesday.
SOS Entertainment Named 38th Assembly District Business of the Year
Tickets are now on sale for “A Doll’s House,” “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Harold and Maude,” three theater productions to be presented in June and July at The Main in Old Town Newhall.
Tickets on Sale for 3 New Theater Productions at The Main
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan announced on Wednesday the fifth ballot counting update for the Statewide Direct Primary Election.
Fifth Election Results Update for June 5 Primary Election
Los Angeles County has engaged information technology leader IBM Security Services to conduct an independent review and evaluation of the systems and procedures used in the production and printing of voter rosters for the June 5 Statewide Direct Primary Election.
L.A. County Selects IBM Security Services to Review Voter Roster Error
The Assembly Committee on Public Safety unanimously passed Senate Bill 1024, the Animal Cruelty & Violence Intervention Act of 2018, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, to change the way California handles animal abuse offenders, Wilk announced Wednesday.
Wilk Animal Offender Bill Passes Assembly Public Safety Committee
Separate bills authored by California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, to improve management of sex offenders and to streamline cultivation of industrial hemp have cleared the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, Wilk announced Wednesday.
Wilk Sex Offender, Industrial Hemp Bills Clear Assembly Committee
World-traveled rock-R&B-funk band Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps returns to headline the free Valencia Jazz & Blues concert on the street outside the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Friday, June 22 starting at 7 p.m.
June 22: Teresa James & Rhythm Tramps at Valencia Jazz & Blues
The California Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee voted Tuesday to pass legislation turning California into a giant Western power trading casino that puts ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog said in condemning the vote for AB 813.
Consumer Watchdog Condemns California Senate Energy Committee Vote for Power Trading
The JetHawks' Roberto Ramos won the pregame Home Run Derby, but the North Division took down the South, 8-1, in the California League All-Star Game at The Hangar in Lancaster Tuesday night.
Ramos Wins Home Run Derby, But South Drops All-Star Game
The Assembly Committee on Higher Education unanimously approved Senate Bill 1356 introduced by California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, to provide state funding for a California Institute for Aerospace in the Antelope Valley.
Wilk Aerospace Institute Bill Soars Through Legislature
Nine Northeast and West Coast states including California Wednesday reaffirmed their strong commitment to a clean, low-carbon transportation sector with the release of a new Multi-State Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan for 2018-2021 to support the successful implementation of the states’ ZEV programs.
California Lauds Multi-State Zero-Emissions Vehicle Plan
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man and woman from Long Beach on various charges including suspected identity theft and possession of counterfeit cash in Saugus Monday afternoon.
Long Beach Couple Arrested for Suspected ID Theft, Bogus Bills
2002 - "Legacy: Santa Clarita's Living History" series debuts on SCVTV with "Placerita Gold" episode [watch]
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for June 20 -22:
June 20-22: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
NORTHRIDGE- CSUN Athletics is mourning the passing of former women's golf coach Bonnie Murphy who lost her five-year battle with cancer on Saturday, June 17.
Matadors Mourn Loss of Former Women’s Golf Coach
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will be holding a networking social where attendees will receive a voucher for 50% off their next purchase with Ashley Furniture in Santa Clarita, and anyone who takes a comfort test on a Tempur Pedic mattress will receive a $50 gift card.
June 20: SCV Chamber’s Business After Hours Social
The city of Santa Clarita’s popular Summer Trolley, which takes guests to and from Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor each day for free, is now offering evening entertainment service, from local hotels to both Town Center Drive and Old Town Newhall.
Summer Trolley Now Offering Evening Entertainment Service
Firefighters are responding to a 1-acre brush fire in Newhall that started after 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, according to officials at the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Forward Progress Stopped on Newhall Brush Fire
One hundred fifty college-bound young adults, many of them the first in their families to attend college, including one student who is College of the Canyons-bound, will proudly take center stage and be honored for their success on Tuesday, June 26, as part of the 30th annual “Celebration 2018: Honoring the Academic Achievements of Foster Youth.”
June 26: Celebration 2018 Grad Ceremony for High-Achieving Foster Youth
For the sixth consecutive year, Henry Mayo has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
American Heart Association Recognizes Henry Mayo Stroke Team
A joint operation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Justice led to the seizure of 553 firearms in Agua Dulce last week.
Investigators Seize 553 Firearms From Agua Dulce Home of Convicted Felon
SACRAMENTO – Summer in California is a time for many people to enjoy road trips, see the sights, and visit new places.
CHP: ‘Safety First’ for Summer Travel
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday joined New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas and 19 attorneys general in demanding the U.S. Department of Justice immediately end its new “zero tolerance” immigration policy which separates children from their parents.
Becerra, State AGs Demand End to Zero-Tolerance Policy of Separating Families
1946 - Community leader Bobbie (Nash) Trueblood arrives in Newhall [story]
The extension of the Film and Television Tax Credit has been included as part of the new state budget, and awaits the governor's signature, California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Monday.
Film, TV Tax Credit Included in State Budget
Los Angeles County Parks and Open Space District representatives joined by three nature-oriented, community-based nonprofit organizations will host an information meeting to provide residents with information about implementation of Measure A, the local park funding measure approved by voters, on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
June 23: Parks, Open Space Measure A Info Meeting
"Straight White Men" starring CalArts alumnus Ty Defoe (Theater BFA 10) alongside Kate Bornstein, Josh Charles, Armie Hammer, Paul Schneider and Tom Skerritt will open for previews at the Helen Hayes Theater in New York on Friday, June 24.
June 24: ‘Straight White Men’ to Open on Broadway with CalArts Alum Ty Defoe