After six years of trying to open a charter school in Galt, high school trustees denied the application Tuesday following widespread staff criticism of the school's application.
It's unclear where Nueva Vision Charter Academy planners will go from here. One of the founders, Rosendo Garcia, left the meeting before the unanimous board vote was taken, and a representative could not be reached Wednesday.
The process to open a charter school in California includes a request to the county office of education and application with the district in which it plans to operate. Nueva Vision started its process in 2004 and has hit a number of snags along the way.
Tuesday's denial may have been the final blow as district staff heavily critiqued the charter school's application, telling trustees it lacked many legal components to operate a school within this state.
The school's organizers had hoped to offer specialized instruction and counseling for Hispanic students at risk of dropping out or becoming involved in drugs or gangs, Garcia said in an interview last year.
The school also planned to help Hispanic parents guide their children down the right path, and help high school students meet all requirements and prerequisites for applying to University of California schools.
But on Tuesday, staff personnel representing curriculum, testing and assessment, and finance and special education, outlined more than a dozen reasons the petition for granting the charter was "not consistent with a sound educational practice," according to the five-page resolution listing district's reasons. Among those were a series of unmet educational codes, including failure to provide a method to chart pupil progress, or a way to identify special-education students, as well as a flawed three-year operating budget.
Mary Martinez, who oversees the district's curriculum, said the educational plan does not subscribe to pre-college coursework as there are no math classes beyond algebra. There is also no plan in place to address the high school exit exam, a state requirement to receive a diploma.
The information was forwarded to the school's administrators on Friday, and on Monday they pulled their request. At the meeting, Garcia claimed they were not given enough time to prepare a rebuttal due to the holiday weekend.
However, under new Superintendent Daisy Lee's recommendation, the board went ahead and voted to deny the application. "I'm disappointed in all the time the staff has put in, and then in the eleventh hour NVA pulls its petition."
The county board denied Nueva Vision its charter in August 2008 because school organizers could not confirm that parents of at least 100 students intended to send their children to the school. Those students ended up enrolling at Galt High two months after school started.
Last April, in the midst of drastic budget reductions, the district turned its attention to the money it would lose if the charter was allowed to open, and urged the county office to deny the application once again.
Districts receive per-pupil funding based on the number of students enrolled.
But county Superintendent Dave Gordon said his office had not heard from Nueva Vision since denying the charter in August.
The school refiled the application with the district at the end of last year and a public hearing was held at the Jan. 12 board meeting. Board approval was required to move forward.
Nueva Vision timeline2004: A group of concerned parents and educators decide to open a new charter school in Galt to reach out to English-language learners. However, the district denies the application in April of that year.
2005: The school receives a $270,000 grant from the California Department of Education for start-up costs.
August 2006: Parties hold several meetings and come to a compromise.
February 2007: Sacramento County Office of Education approves charter.
April 2008: After school fails to open in fall 2007, county board reaffirms conditional approval granted to Nueva Vision 14 months earlier so long as it can meet three conditions of opening.
August 2008: Office of education denies charter school when conditions not met.
September 2008: Nueva Vision's planned opening date comes and goes.
December 2008: After extensive work with city planners, the Galt City Council approves use permit to open at temporary location.
April: Galt high school district trustees outline their concerns about the proposed charter school in a letter to the county board of education.
Among them is directing more per-pupil funding away from district coffers and thus adding to budget deficit issues.
December: School planners file new petition to open with district.
Friday: School district notifies administrators by registered mail and personal delivery that the denial will be on Tuesday's school board agenda.
Monday: Nueva Vision pulls application.
Tuesday: Trustees decide to move forward with denial due to staff time spent evaluating application. The vote is 5-0.