Charter academy's renewal rejected
Marysville Joint Unified School District trustees said no to the YES Charter Academy on Tuesday evening, denying the school a five-year charter renewal on a 4-3 vote.
The Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy’s renewal was declined after district consultants told trustees the school failed to meet financial and scholastic expectations.
“The YESCA charter petition’s overall academic program is lacking in regards to core curriculum tied to standards and student achievement,” Lennie Tate, the district’s executive director of educational services, said. “The curriculum described in the petition is science-based and supplemental in nature and not intended to be used as a standalone curriculum for all subjects.”
Dozens of parents, students and teachers spoke out in YES’ defense. At the end of the meeting, however, four trustees chose to deny the charter – an action that could lead to the school’s closing before the next academic year if the appeals process fails.
Trustees who opposed the renewal were Glen Harris, Anthony Dannible, Bernard Rechs and Frank Crawford.
Tate said one of her biggest concerns was the California Standards Test scores among YES’s eighth-graders. In social science, 100 percent of the charter’s eighth-graders tested below proficient. In math, 82 percent were below proficient. For science, 90 percent were below proficient.
YES Principal Kathy Smith said employees and families involved with the school are concerned, but the school already planned to appeal to the Yuba County Board of Education.
“I’m very confident that Yuba County will approve our appeal,” Smith said.
The charter school’s test scores this year improved by 11 points compared to the previous year, but it may not be enough to convince the Yuba County board.
If the county denies the appeal, the charter school can try again at the state level. If an appeal is denied by the state, however, the school will be forced to close, Smith said.
Ultimately, the decision by the Marysville board on Tuesday was spurred by several differences of opinion between the district and the charter school, she said.
“We’ve had a long haul with the district,” Smith said.
Philip Miller, one of the three trustees who wanted to renew YES’ charter, said he wanted to grant the petition because he believes in small schools in small rural communities.
“My feeling is smaller is better,” Miller said.
Although he voted in favor of the charter, Miller said he wasn’t surprised that the majority of the board disagreed with him.
“I hated to see it,” he said, “but that’s the way it was.”
YES Charter Academy has less than 30 days to file an appeal.
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