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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
65°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 24
1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]


Commentary by Ken Pfalzgraf
| Monday, Aug 22, 2016

KenPfalzgraf2016For the better part of five years, I have been a regular – and often the only – attendee of the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District (AADUSD) board of trustees meetings. In the past three years, I’ve watched the district go from teetering at fiscal insolvency to operating with an ample surplus, funded by income from a vast network of charter schools developed using processes that have yet to be legally or legislatively validated – much less understood by the district’s constituents.

In addition to providing an alternative for educating students who were not being reached by standard methods, the charter school movement started as a means of developing innovations that would ultimately benefit public education. The ever-increasing popularity of charter schools has fueled a nasty division between public schools and charters over funding and test scores. Public schools lose funding when a student leaves for a charter. Some claim that charters “cream off” the best students, leaving the public schools with artificially deflated test scores and an inordinate share of the cost of instructing students with the highest needs.

Legislative intervention may be necessary to balance the fiscal well-being of public schools and the educational innovations being gained through the charters. But for now, the courts and the Legislature are focusing on the outer fringe of the charter school game, the prolific charter authorizers who are in it for the money.

First are “corporations and corporate interests — which are not about improving academic outcomes for students, but about maximizing revenues for the benefit of management’s personal wealth and/or to fund future growth” (see No. 1 below). Then there is the small, “cash strapped” school district struggling to maintain its market share of local students and looking to recoup lost funding by taking a cut off of the charters it sponsors elsewhere.

California Sen. Carol Liu recently requested to have three of California’s 997 school districts audited by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, stating: “There have been accusations that some districts are authorizing in order to generate revenue through ‘oversight fees.’ Several extreme examples of this include Acton Agua Dulce Unified which has only four (actually three) traditional schools but authorizes 14 various charter schools, most outside the district. One of the district charters, Assurance Learning Academies, is located almost 60 miles away in Los Angeles. That school has significant academic issues including 91 percent of students not meeting standards in math” (2).

What happens to the fiscal stability of AADUSD if a legislative change wipes out the recent charter-generated windfall or if the few employees, past or present, who actually understand how the plan works take their ball and head off to another game?

With a California state auditor headed to AADUSD to have a closer look (3), does anybody else think it might be time to turn the focus back on the local students and fiscal self-sustainability?

 

Ken Pfalzgraf is an Acton resident and a candidate for the AADUSD Board of Trustees.

 

(1) https://www.csba.org/Newsroom/CSBANewsletters/2014/June/InPrint/VantagePoint.aspx

(2) https://www.dropbox.com/s/u9ow70cboesic46/Liu%20documents%20audit.pdf?dl=0

(3) https://www.dropbox.com/s/wnmutmeczab1w57/Charter%20audit%20methodology.pdf?dl=0

 

 

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.

3 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    You neglected to mention that charter schools are public schools and offer parents an alternative to district run education.

    • Ken Pfalzgraf says:

      Certainly not wanting to get into a last word contest here but my piece makes several references to the educational innovations coming out of charter schools. I think the sheer number of students attending charters is a clear indicator of a demand for choice as no one is forcing anyone to attend a charter in lieu of a traditional public school. In fact, one of my children attends a charter school. Likewise, this is not about all charter schools or public schools being one thing or another. This is about 3, again 3, school districts out of 997 (that’s 3/10ths of 1 percent where I come from) being looked at for a suspect process. Problem for me is that one of the three, or 1/10th of 1 percent of all school districts in the state, is the district where I live and where I am a candidate for the board. In other words, what Lee Jenkinson said.

  2. Lee Jenkinson says:

    As always, a potentially good idea is abused by those in charge for personal gain. It sounds as if legislation to tighten up oversight and practices is overdue.

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
Thursday, May 24, 2018
We must begin to start solving problems and building bridges for our veteran community. We must connect them with the services they need and have earned, and we must help them find mortgage-paying jobs that support them and their families now and into the future.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Every year, more Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to weaken and become more likely to break. You mgiht not know that you have this “silent” disease until your bones are so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes your wrist to break or your hip to fracture.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Instead of rushing forward to implement a new formula by July 1, ample time should be given to study what has been proposed, and already identified flaws in the formula should be changed.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Traffic is one of the most common concerns raised by residents throughout Southern California. Here in the city of Santa Clarita, we utilize a sophisticated, extensive, state-of-the-art Intelligent Transportation System to manage traffic circulation on our streets, to keep you safe.
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
We must begin to start solving problems and building bridges for our veteran community. We must connect them with the services they need and have earned, and we must help them find mortgage-paying jobs that support them and their families now and into the future.
Honor Fallen Vets by Supporting Survivors | By Sen. Scott Wilk (Video)
College of the Canyons Small Business Development Center will host the following Business Events and Training Webinar:
COC Small Business Development Center to Host Business Events, Training Webinar
With a minute left on the clock, College of the Canyons soccer team captain Hailey Phipps scored a goal from 16 yards outside the box, lifting the Cougars to a 1-0 win against Moorpark College.
COC Student-Athlete, Route 91 Survivor Set to Graduate
During the month of May, volunteer drivers for the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center’s “Meals on Wheels” program are receiving CPR training thanks to a partnership with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, LBW Insurance and Financial Services and Superior Life Support, Inc.
Meals on Wheels Drivers to Receive CPR Training
Firefighters were dispatched Thursday afternoon to a trash truck fire in Canyon Country.
Firefighters Douse Trash Truck Fire in Canyon Country
The College of the Canyons Athletics department recently hosted its annual Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Dinner, honoring more than 90 student-athletes who will be earning an associate degree this semester and/or transferring to a four-year school in the fall.
More than 90 COC Student-Athletes Advance Towards Graduation
Calling all Yogis or Yogis-in-Training.
June 1: Goat Yoga for a Cause
College of the Canyons is co-sponsoring a National Conference on Manufacturing here in Santa Clarita on June 4 and 5.
June 4,5: National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers Summer Workshop
California State University, Northridge film professor Nate Thomas has earned a second regional Emmy Award nomination for a television public service announcement (PSA) campaign he directed and produced for the FBI on cybercrimes.
CSUN Film Professor Earns Another Emmy Nod for FBI PSA
The Los Angeles metropolitan area harbors the largest homeless population in the United States of America.
CSUN Prof’s Photo Exhibit, ‘One of Us,’ Documents Stories of LA’s Homeless
Get ready for the sounds of live Jazz and Blues bands to once again fill Town Center Drive in Valencia.
June 15: Opening Night Valencia Jazz, Blues Concert Series
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball (26-29) wraps up the 2018 season this weekend at USC. The Matadors and Trojans open up a three-game series Thursday at 6 p.m. while game two is set for Friday at 6 p.m. and the season finale is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. All three games will be streamed live on Pac-12.com.
Matadors Wrap Up 2018 Season with Weekend Series Against Trojans
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.---CSUN Men's Basketball head coach Mark Gottfried finalized his coaching staff with the additions of former National Coach of the Year Jim Harrick, 30-year collegiate coach Jeff Dunlap and NBA champion Mo Williams. The trio will serve as assistant coaches for the 2018-19 season.
Jim Harrick, Mo Williams to Join CSUN Basketball Coaching Staff
LAKE ELSINORE – For the second-consecutive day the JetHawks were held to one run in a 4-1 loss to the Lake Elsinore Storm on Wednesday night at The Diamond.
JetHawks Held to 1 Run for Second-Consecutive Day
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation kicks off its public summer swim season beginning Saturday, June 2, 2018, with the opening of six swimming pools for free recreational swimming.
County Announces 2018 Summer Pool Openings
The Valley Industry Association is pleased to host Jonathan Miller, Vice President of Clinical Support and Facility Planning, and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Sevan Stepanian, MD, Urology, fellowship-trained in minimally invasive and robotic surgery, as keynote speakers for the June luncheon meeting.
June 19: Valley Industry Association Luncheon Meeting
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has issued a warning regarding an increase in thefts of wallets stolen from women's purses as they are shopping. Here is the advisory from the station's Facebook page:
Wallet Thefts While Shopping on the Rise
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee will hold a meeting Friday, May 25, at 11:00 a.m.
May 25: City Council Legislative Committee Meeting
1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]
Santa Clarita ranks No. 182 -- dead last -- among the best cities in which to launch a post-college career, according to a new survey by WalletHub, and SCV Chamber Board Chairman Troy Hooper comments.
WalletHub Survey: Santa Clarita the Worst U.S. City to Launch a Career
In Wednesday's Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony at the Eugene W. Biscailuz Regional Training Center in East Los Angeles, LASD Sheriff Jim McConnell honored five fallen heroes whose names were added to the Peace Officers’ Memorial Wall.
Sheriff McDonnell Holds Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony, Wall Dedication
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Vito Imbasciani, will serve as Honorary Chair of the 8th Annual Patriots Luncheon, honoring local veterans on Thursday, July 12 at The Oaks Club in Valencia.
July 12: CalVet Secretary Set as Honorary Chair of Patriots Luncheon
Recent TMU graduate Samuel Eisenhuth finished school with a 4.0 GPA and a lasting impact on the golf program.
Eisenhuth Leads TMU Golf ‘with God in Mind’
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to develop guidelines to fast-track removal or reduction of cannabis-related convictions for county residents, many of whom face barriers to employment, housing and public benefits due to their records.
LA County Moves to Clear Pot-Related Convictions
Graphic Design faculty Michael Worthington devised a plan to consolidate CalArts' poster archive into a digital space so the works are available online to alumni and current students, as well as to CalArts and design communities at large.
Time Traveling Through the CalArts Poster Archive Online
The editors of College of the Canyons’ award-winning literary and arts magazine "cul-de-sac" invite the community to celebrate the publication's 11th annual volume with a night of poetry, prose, photography and art at COC’s Valencia campus on Friday, May 25, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
May 25: Publication Party for COC’s ‘cul-de-sac’ Literary, Arts Magazine
The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk would like to partner with local community organizations to host and facilitate community meetings for the county's Vote Center Placement Project.
LA County Seeks Community Input on Vote Center Locations
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Valencia will open for its 24th season on Saturday, May 26 with more than 23 unique slides and attractions for the entire family.
May 26: Six Flags Hurricane Harbor to Open for Season
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Silvertone Singers under the direction of John Swinford will sing a set of TV themes old and new at the Senior Center in Newhall on Thursday, May 24, from 2:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
May 24: Silvertone Singers to Warble TV Themes at SCV Senior Center
Rico Garcia delivered another strong outing, but the JetHawks failed to provide him with run support in a series-opening 2-1 loss to the Lake Elsinore Storm on Tuesday night at The Diamond.
JetHawks Drop Storm Opener 2-1 Despite Garcia Gem
The Herb Alpert Foundation and California Institute of the Arts awarded the 24th Annual Herb Alpert Award in the Arts to five exceptional mid–career artists at a lunch hosted by the Herb Alpert Foundation in Santa Monica on May 18.
CalArts Names 5 Herb Alpert Award Recipients for 2018
Santa Clarita franchise partner Francis James has opened a new Expedia CruiseShipCenters location at 26512 Bouquet Canyon Road, in the Bouquet Center Shopping Center at the corner of Newhall Ranch Road in Saugus.
Expedia Cruise Ship Centers Drop Anchor in Santa Clarita
The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control will partner with Animals for Armed Forces Foundation to provide free adoptions for veterans, reserve, active duty service members and immediate family members during Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27.
May 25-27: Pet Adoption Fees at County Shelters Waived for Veterans
The Los Angeles County Fire Department will conduct its annual live wildfire training exercises at Pitchess Detention Center, Wayside Honor Rancho in Castaic from June 4 through June 29.
June 4-29: Wildland Fire Training at Pitchess in Castaic
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a young transient on drug charges in Stevenson Ranch Sunday afternoon, according to station officials.
Transient Arrested on Drug Charges in Stevenson Ranch
1941 - SCV's first real movie house, the American Theater, dedicated in Newhall [story]