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Einstein Academy appeal heard; both sides await decision

Posted: December 12, 2012 5:05 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2012 5:05 p.m.

The fate of the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences’ long-sought charter for an elementary school in the Santa Clarita Valley now rests in the hands of the Los Angeles County Board of Education.

Representatives from Einstein Academy gathered in Downey on Tuesday to appeal an Oct. 16 decision from the Saugus Union School District denying the academy an elementary school charter.

Einstein is chartered to run a middle school and high school in the William S. Hart Union High School District and also recently won charter approval from the Alpine Union School District in San Diego County to offer classes from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The Board of Education has until Feb. 18 to rule on Einstein’s appeal, according to Jeffrey Shapiro, the executive director of Einstein Academy’s foundation.

Shapiro estimated 80 people attended the hearing in support of Einstein.

“I was very pleased with our presentation and the reception it had,” Shapiro said Wednesday. “I left with a lot of confidence.”

The Saugus district, Newhall School District and Los Angeles Unified School District have all denied Einstein’s petitions for an elementary school charter over the last two years.

The Saugus district’s Oct. 16 vote marked the third time it has denied Einstein’s elementary school charter.

During that hearing on the petition, members of the Saugus school board raised concerns about the fiscal solvency of the charter and whether Einstein would be able to comply with certain provisions necessary to become chartered, such as offering and funding programs for English-learning and special-needs students.

The charter proposal denied by the Saugus district was virtually identical to the one approved by the Alpine district in November, Shapiro said.

Several portions of the district’s resolution denying Einstein’s elementary charter were labeled “misleading” and “inaccurate” in Einstein’s appeal documentation.

Joan Lucid, superintendent of the Saugus district, said Wednesday she believes the district did everything necessary to make its case to the county Board of Education.

In Einstein’s appeal, Shapiro alleged that Lucid, during her interview for the position of superintendent, said “charter schools are bad” and “have no place in the Santa Clarita Valley.”

Lucid rejected any claim that she objects to charter schools on principle.

“I’m not opposed to any kind of a school,” Lucid said. “What I am opposed to is a school that doesn’t meet the rules and regulations as required by law.”




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