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Acton-Agua Dulce district to vote on Einstein Academy charter tonight

Posted: May 16, 2013 12:41 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2013 12:41 p.m.

Members of the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District board will vote tonight on whether to approve two charter petitions that would allow the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Science to open two schools in the district next year.

The board’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Meadowlark Elementary School, 3015 Sacramento Ave. in Acton.

The Einstein Academy is seeking approval for an elementary school that would be located in the Santa Clarita Valley, but outside the boundaries of the Acton-Agua Dulce district, and a school for students in grades seven through 12 that would be located within the district’s boundaries.

In both cases, the schools would be site-based with independent study components that would allow some students to spend 21 to 25 percent of their class time in a non-traditional school setting, such as home study or taking classes at an accelerated rate, according to the charter petitions.

If approved, both schools would open this fall for the 2013-2014 school year, according to the petitions.

Einstein has been repeatedly unsuccessful in its attempts to open an elementary school in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Newhall School District denied an elementary school charter from Einstein in 2010 while the Saugus Union School District has denied four different Einstein charter petitions, most recently in April.

The William S. Hart Union High School District also declined to consider an elementary school petition from Einstein, despite having approved an Einstein school for students in grades seven to 12.

The superintendents from the three districts, along with those from the Castaic Union School District and the Sulphur Springs School District, penned a letter to the members of the Acton-Agua Dulce board last week urging them to deny the Einstein petitions.

In the letter, superintendents questioned the financial assumptions of the petitions, calling Einstein officials inexperienced in dealing with low-achieving or English-language-learning students and accusing them of attempting to evade a provision of charter school law that requires charter schools to reflect the racial and ethnic balance of the student population in the chartering district.

By chartering an elementary school in the Acton-Agua Dulce district but locating it elsewhere in the Santa Clarita Valley, Einstein officials could skirt this requirement, the letter states.

Einstein’s long-term goal is to eventually find a suitable location for the elementary school within the Acton-Agua Dulce district boundaries, according to the charter petition.

The recommended action is for the board to approve the Einstein 7-12 petition, according to the meeting agenda. There is no recommended action listed for the elementary school petition.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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