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UPDATE: County board fails to pass latest Einstein bid for school in Saugus

Posted: August 6, 2013 11:25 a.m.
Updated: August 6, 2013 7:33 p.m.

After four separate petitions, three appeals to the county and months of sometimes-contentious rhetoric, the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences was dealt another blow Tuesday to its plan to open an elementary school within the boundaries of the Saugus Union School District.

Einstein’s bid to convince the Los Angeles County Board of Education to overturn Saugus Union’s latest denial failed to win enough votes to pass.

The vote was actually 3-2 in favor of approving the Einstein petition, but four votes in favor were required for the seven-member board to pass it, according to Saugus district Superintendent Joan Lucid.

One seat on the board is currently vacant and another board member was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, according to Lucid, who attended the meeting.

“I believe that our board decision was upheld in the most professional manner that it could have been,” Lucid said Tuesday.

Saugus district board members voted earlier this year to turn down the latest Einstein petition — the fourth time they had rejected such a petition. Einstein officials then appealed the decision to the Board of Education.

In failing to pass the measure, the board vote went somewhat against a staff recommendation, which was to approve the petition with some required revisions and a time line that would require the school to open by September 2014, according to county documents.

Einstein officials would have had to submit a revised charter petition containing “necessary technical adjustments” to address any issues raised, such as the lack of detail about a potential school facility and questions regarding how the school would cater to low-performing students, English-language learners or students with disabilities, according to the county report.

Jeffrey Shapiro, the executive director of the Einstein Academy foundation and petitioner for the charter, did not respond to a call or an email requesting comment Tuesday.

Einstein officials still have the option of appealing the issue to the state, should they choose to.

Though plans in the Saugus district remain on hold, Einstein officials have received approval from the board of the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District to open an elementary school in the Santa Clarita Valley.

That school is slated to open in September and is located at 25300 Rye Canyon Road, within the boundaries of the Castaic Union School District.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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