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Saugus board raises concerns at Einstein charter hearing

Posted: March 20, 2013 1:19 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2013 1:19 p.m.

The Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences began its fourth attempt to charter an elementary school in the Saugus Union School District with a public hearing Tuesday night.

Eddie Nathan, the associate director of the Einstein Academy’s foundation, addressed the members of the Saugus district board in support of the proposed charter school by reading a statement on behalf of Jeffrey Shapiro, the executive director of the foundation and the lead petitioner for the charter.

“The petition before you is familiar to you,” Nathan said. “The changes in our petition have been noted and we are eager to open an Einstein elementary school.”

Shapiro was absent because he was traveling to another Einstein school site, Nathan said.

“It’s unfortunate the lead petitioner is not here to answer all our questions,” said board member Paul De La Cerda.

While Einstein’s new petition is substantively similar to the one denied by the Saugus board in October, changes have been made to the school’s governance structure to reflect the fact that Einstein has received school charters in multiple counties in California.

But board member Doug Bryce said he was still unsure about what the governance model for the proposed Einstein elementary school would be.

As proposed, Einstein would establish a “board of overseers” at each of its school sites. A member of each of those boards would then be invited to sit on the overall governing board for the Albert Einstein Academy.

“I have no idea what that board of oversees is or what it would look like,” Bryce told Nathan.

Another concern raised by board member Rose Koscielny was how Einstein would hire teachers to staff the school.

Nathan said Einstein had yet to fully staff the school, since the charter has not yet been approved.

“You have no experienced teachers on staff that can teach students at this point,” Koscielny said.

The public hearing is the first step of the charter petition process. The Saugus board will vote on whether to approve or deny the charter at a later meeting.

The Saugus board has already voted three times to deny a charter from Einstein Academy, most recently in October.

The Einstein Academy is chartered to provide education to students in grades 7 through 12 in the William S. Hart Union High School District.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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