Portola Academy Petition Denied by State

State Board of Education deny petition for Portola Academy charter school.

A petition to bring another charter school in town was rejected by the State Board of Education, according to a report by The Independent.

The Portola Academy — a proposed K-8 school from the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation — was denied on July 19 by the state board after a 6-3 vote, according to the report.

Further details from The Independent report:

In the recommendation to the SBE, the California Department of Education (CDE) found that the petition “does not provide sufficient information on how the school will serve the diverse and underserved student population it proposes to educate.” The CDE recommendation also described the Portola Academy financial plan as “overly optimistic and unsustainable” and found that the petition “did not provide the required number of signatures specified in state law.”

View the report on The Independent's website.


Alan July 27, 2012 at 03:34 PM
There were 560 children already enrolled in Portola Academy that are now forced to go back to Junction where they are trapped there and at other failing schools. The Advisory Commission on Charter Schools recommended to the SBE by a vote of 5-1 to authorize the charter school. A judge just ruled in the Desert Trails Elementary School Parent Trigger case where the bureaucratic nonsense of "disallowing" parent signatures by the school board was an abuse of "discretion" power. The non-profit chartering organization - TVLC - has had clean financial audits for the past five years and has the outstanding financial strength to be authorized by a separate state agency - the California School Finance Authority (under the State Treasury) to issue up to $40,000,000 in bonds to purchase the buildings without a need for any "Measure L" or other tax increase that the district board insists upon (and would need) to get their bonds. But they at least got one thing right in condemning the Livermore Valley Unified School District for having a "diverse and UNDERSERVED student population" in the Portola-Junction area.
Feather Latimer July 27, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Well put Alan.i feel bad for the kids that were waiting.many of our friends are in that 560.I grew up in Livermore.i attended smith,mendenhall and Granada.i know the best and worst of both as my kids THANKFULLY attend LVCS as middle schoolers. So knowing what it's like on both sides I am really disappointed Everytime the state throws the idea away.we have a great bunch of people at charter so I know they'll keep trying:)
Carly July 27, 2012 at 05:27 PM
you can thank the teachers union.
DC July 27, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Education in this state might as well be run by the mob - though they would likely do a better job as they'll hold you accountable. If the state cared about something other than placating the parasitic unions, they would have approved this. The public school system sees our children as dollar signs and doesn't hold poor teachers to account. It'll be a cold day in hell before I vote for a school funding measure again after seeing the way TVLC was jerked around.
Phil Weiss July 27, 2012 at 07:08 PM
@ Maurice - I respectfully disagree with you. The charter schools are public, there are no differences in admission standards than in public schools. As a parent of a student attending the high school, the policies and disciplinary procedures are equal to and, in some cases greater, than the other public schools. Several of us have students in both LVJUSD and TVLC schools and we work very hard to help in the educational processes of both schools. In my own opinion, I would not characterize that as elitist. These opinions are my own as a parent. Thank you for listening.
DC July 27, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Maybe if the teachers were held ACCOUNTABLE the parents would believe their children were receiving a quality education. As for dividing, there's nothing stopping you from applying - they use a lottery system. And really, Maurice... if you're so upset about some people not being able to get in, why would you limit the choice to begin with? Lastly, I encourage you to read up on the disciplinary documentation. The charter school's policy holds the kids and parents much more accountable for their actions than you could ever get in the "regular" school district.
Katie Hazen July 27, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I wonder if the financial impact had a behind the scenes impact on this vote. LVJUSD spent a lot of money to revamp Junction to accommodate the students from Portiola. If those same students (500-600) now migrate out of the district to a charter school the fiscal impact on LVJUSD would be considerable. However, keep in mind that the ADA should and does follow the student. So theoretically LVJUSD would have a decrease in costs. In any event, Charter schools are free public schools that simply provide a choice to parents and students. LVJUSD and the Charter schools in Livermore have many things I common such as great teachers, talented administrators and above all fantastic learners! Let's celebrate our commonalities! There is room and need in our community for both entities.
Alan July 27, 2012 at 08:06 PM
How about if the parents worked hard to make all Livermore schools into "Elitist" Public Charter Schools, that all children in Livermore could attend? The district is so top heavy that it takes too much money from the schools themselves.
Jerry July 27, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I'm very frustrated with TVLC for not keeping their promises. They should know better how to get a charter approved by now. They blew it. And I'm very annoyed that they've wasted Livermore parent money with the Dublin charter nonsense. TVLC - focus on Livermore and stop making enemies in the State! Get us Portola Academy like you promised!
JoAnne July 27, 2012 at 08:53 PM
It would be wonderful if the school system reached out to the parents who worked so hard to form Portola Academy and discover what the parents wanted to achieve at Portola... different class size, curriculum changes, etc. ... and together made it their goal to incorporate these features at Junction Avenue. The school board cannot satisfy every parent or child all the time, but when a school has 560 disgruntled "customers" it is time that the school board listen to what is wanted and work to meet some of the demands.
Alan July 27, 2012 at 09:43 PM
From LIvermore Independent: http://www.independentnews.com/news/article_5b925efa-3ca3-11e1-a7dc-0019bb2963f4.html "According to chief business official Susan Kinder, Portola Academy would likely result in loss of $1 million in revenue to the District. This is determined by the loss of 560 students, reducing by $3 million Average Daily Attendance funding, offset by $1.3 million saved from laying off 20 teachers who would no longer be needed, $500,000 by closing a school, and $200,000 in oversight fees paid by Portola Academy." If you take out the oversight fees from the above equation, that is $1,200,000 per 560 students, or $2142 per student that the district gets from the state for your student that is not spent on that student's education. The $2,142 is the District's gross profit margin for each student, and is what they lose for each student that leaves. As they spend $1,800,000 for all 560 students that comes to $3214 per student that is spent on teachers and school facilities - $3,214 + $2,142 = $5,356 total per student. And there is only one thing wrong with the number $5,356 is that the district actually gets between $8,000 and $9,000 per student from the state, so I think the gross profit is actually much, much higher - like around $5000 per Junction student. So I think the district would not like any charter school taking away their students.
Kirk Snyder July 28, 2012 at 04:20 AM
ALL Charter schools statewide should be closed, students, faculty and staff returned to the true public schools, the way God intended education to be.
Livermore mom July 28, 2012 at 08:53 AM
@opinion: it isn't very Christian to wish your neighbors to hell. I'm a bit confused...Why were children enrolled in a charter school that was not approved? There were no teachers hired so why we're the parents misled to think the charter school was greenlit? Was someone counting their chickens before they were hatched? I wouldn't want my children going to an establishment that misled me.
Nicholas Joseph Dujmovich July 29, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Now that the process has been seen through, I believe we all should join in support of a continued successful LVJUSD!
Albert Rubio July 29, 2012 at 04:03 AM
>Boo, hoo-hoo. Maybe if the parents spent as much time working to make the REAL public schools better It's been tried for over a hundred years and no one is happy yet (you can read dissatisfaction on every patch). neither do school reforms work, everyone is always waiting for "superman" but there is no superman. Schools are monopolized by the state and voters have never kept them or the schools accountable. In fact, academics have been flat in the US since the 1970, while school employment has gone up over 90% If voters ever score, it's news. You have better odds in Vegas. The system has to be abolished from the top down to change, and that is no small task. By definition, Public schools are actually Socialized and compulsory government schools. I don't know if this surprises or disturbs anyone.
Nathan21 July 29, 2012 at 06:12 AM
The charter schools are great! Some people are obviously uneducated about charter schools.
Trader Lu July 29, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Please ignore this post by Opinion. He or she is just "imitating" what they want you to think that a typical Christian would say in order to promote the present day propaganda against Christians with the result of more discrimination and hatred towards Christians.
Trader Lu July 29, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Well said, Albert.
Mary July 30, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Many people have forgotten, or may not know, that the reason TVLC was started ten years ago was in response to the closing of Almond Avenue and Arroyo Mocho schools. Parents were upset that their children were going to be shifted to schools they did not care to have their children attend. It was NOT because of ineffective teachers. In fact, most of those great teachers from the closed schools went on to teach (and are still teaching) throughout the district. LVJUSD has many fine educators at all levels, and has graduates from both high schools attending UOP, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, USC and other state/out of state schools. It's great to have educational choices in our community, and TVLC has strong supporters, but it's apparent from the CDE report that TVLC is not yet prepared to take on the challenge of second-language learners from low-income backgrounds. TVLC has had the opportunity over the last ten years to attract those learners and, in fact, has three public schools, each about a mile away from the TVLC Sonoma site, that have had parents from all over the district enrolling their children - - by choice. Do you know LVJUSD has an open-enrollment policy? Please make well-informed choices for your child's education and support ALL our schools in Livermore.
Wendy Grant July 30, 2012 at 09:05 AM
Charter schools are fine I think. BUT....all parents don't take an active role in their childrens education. Teachers are so over worked and under paid. I used to correct tests to help. When the time came to help, it is always the same handful of parents helping. If Livermore's schools are to get better parents need to be more active and willing to help.
Jaspy August 03, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Be it Charter or not; SOMETHING needs to be done about education in this state! We are so far behind most of the country - it's just crazy!! Perhaps if the district really allowed for changes the parents are fighting for (certainly within the boundaries of budget) these parents would not feel the need to seek an alternative. Not every child learns the same; and if you do not acknowledge this; and dedicate to offering a dynamic education; but rather force an educational journey that makes the child feel they are just trying to survive it and get out - you can not be upset with parents looking towards other options as is THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHT. Still a free country; I believe.


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