Pool of 48 applies to run schools
By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News (from Contra Costa Times) | http://bit.ly/eN9Jfu
12/01/2010 06:30:28 PM PST - Los Angeles Unified officials received 48 bids by Wednesday's deadline from groups looking to run schools under the second round of the district's Public School Choice reform plan.
The plan, approved by the school board in summer 2009, lets charter operators and nonprofits compete with teachers and principals from within the district to run new and under-performing schools.
It is intended to improve school performance by forcing educators both inside and outside the district to compete for the right to run a school.
In this latest round 10 new and three existing schools will be up for grabs, including two long-awaited high schools in the San Fernando Valley scheduled to open next fall.
"Public School Choice provides additional routes to academic success," said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines as he formally announced the final leg of the contest.
Over the next few weeks district officials will sort through the final proposals from applicants, which are supposed to include detailed plans for the vision and mission of the schools.
Officials will pick their favored plans and then parents, school employees and community members will vote their recommendations for the proposals they think will best serve their schools.
The final decision then rests on the LAUSD school board, which is expected to vote in February.
Last year, 36 campuses attracted 84 final bids. District-led groups of teachers andadministrators kept control over the majority of the schools.
Teacher's union leaders, who oppose the school reform plan, said they intend to work just as hard as they did last year to keep control of schools up for grabs this round.
"We will be working with our teacher and school site teams to create the best plans possible that will reflect a quality education for all of our students," said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
Charter leaders also organized a press conference Wednesday to show the unified effort they plan to pitch this year to earn more school sites.
"The charter schools that are applying this round are eight brands recognized across the country" said Jed Wallace, president of the California Charter School Association.
"We are hopeful that final decisions in February will indicate that the greater Los Angeles community is capitalizing upon the opportunity that the Public School Choice process presents."
While there are only two schools in the San Fernando Valley, the coveted school sites drew a quarter of all the applications submitted to the district Wednesday.
In San Fernando, Valley Region High School #5 attracted nine final bids from several teacher-led groups, as well as the nonprofit Youth Policy Institute and charter operator Partnership to Uplift Communities, or PUC Schools.
Valley Region High School #4, in Granada Hills, drew three applications including one from Granada Hills Charter High School and another from the local school district representing the West San Fernando valley.
Charter operator Magnolia won't apply to manage new LAUSD school near Carson
By Melissa Pamer Staff Writer | Daily Breeze | http://bit.ly/ervFt4
12/01/2010 07:36:15 PM PST - A respected charter management organization that runs a South Bay school has decided not to apply to operate a new Los Angeles Unified secondary campus in the Carson area.
Magnolia Public Schools, which runs 12 charter schools in Southern California, including Magnolia Science Academy - 3 in Carson, did not bid to run a new LAUSD secondary school that is under construction in Long Beach.
Noon Wednesday marked the deadline to submit applications to run 10 new and three troubled existing schools that are subject to the second round of the district's Public School Choice process, which allows outside groups to bid for educational control.
Magnolia's decision leaves two options in the running: plans from LAUSD and from a small Long Beach-based charter organization.
Magnolia Chief Executive Officer Suleyman Bahceci had said Monday that he intended to apply to run the new Carson-area campus. But he learned from a Daily Breeze article Tuesday that LAUSD's Local District 8 team had crafted a proposal with grades six through 12 at the campus, known as South Region High School No. 4.
That district plan was written in part because of demographic changes showing low enrollment potential for a high school.
"This is not a fair race. ... If I knew this, three months ago or from the beginning, I would have submitted a six-through-12 proposal," Bahceci said.
He said the district in late October e-mailed a general Magnolia address to inform the organization that a proposal for a middle school and a high school was required. The e-mail was not sent to him or another Magnolia official handling the application, so the pair were unaware of the change, Bahceci said.
Bahceci stressed that he had a good relationship with LAUSD and was distressed only by the "unfortunate circumstances." He said he strongly supports a sixth-through-12th-grade campus.
"This is our fault. We are not looking for any guilty people," Bahceci said. "There is no blame here."
In a letter sent to LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines Tuesday, Bahceci said Magnolia would "welcome any opportunity to support the development of SRHS#4" and would consider running just a portion of the school.
Dangil Jones, a teacher at Santee Education Complex near downtown who had expressed interest in running the school, likewise said she had decided not to apply.
In addition to a plan from Gardena-based Local District 8, an application was submitted for MATTIE Academy School of Change by a group that operated a short-lived charter in Long Beach.
A community advisory vote on the two remaining options is expected in January, followed by a final Board of Education vote on the proposals later that month.
smf’s 2¢: Note that Charter Schools Association chief Jed Wallace says: "The charter schools that are applying this round are eight brands recognized across the country." Brands? Really? If that isn’t an admission of an agenda of privatizing public education with a corporate agenda, what is?
And the Magnolia Charter Schools Management Organization “a respected charter management organization’ is not without controversy – or perhaps even scandal - affiliated as it apparently is the Gulen Movement | http://bit.ly/g90Wl5
Gulen followers (and Gulen himself ) object to their affiliation and network of charter schools of being called a ‘movement’. Maybe it’s a ‘brand’.