Schools await Prop. 39 decisions from charter organizations

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Posted May 2, 2013 by The Argonaut in News
STILL WAITING – Mark Twain Middle School Principal Dr. Rex Patton is one of several local principals who are waiting to hear if their schools will be forced to share their facilities with a charter school in the fall.

STILL WAITING – Mark Twain Middle School Principal Dr. Rex Patton is one of several local principals who are waiting to hear if their schools will be forced to share their facilities with a charter school in the fall.

By Gary Walker
Mark Twain Middle School in Mar Vista and Westminster Avenue Elementary School in Venice are still waiting to see if they have avoided a colocation with a charter school again, while such offers have been given at other local schools.
The Los Angeles Unified School District tendered Proposition 39 offers to several charter organizations last month for schools in District 4, which includes Del Rey, Mar Vista, Westchester and Venice.
Charters are required to notify LAUSD if they will accept the proffers by Thursday, May 2.
“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Mark Twain Middle School Principal Dr. Rex Patton told The Argonaut April 30, two days before the offers became official. “We’re still waiting.”
Prop. 39, a 2000 voter approved ballot measure, provides charter operators with the opportunity to have space on traditional school campuses where classrooms are considered underutilized or vacant. School districts tender offers to charters at schools where these classrooms exist and charters then determine whether they will accept or refuse them.
A colocation occurs when a charter organization shares a campus with a traditional school.
Venice High School, after successfully beating back an attempt by a pilot school to colocate on its campus in March, is also waiting to hear from LAUSD.
Venice High School Principal Elsa Mendoza did not return calls at Argonaut press time for comment.
Goethe International School, which has a German-based curriculum, will remain at Marina Del Rey Middle School in Del Rey for at least another year. The K-5 school was slated to leave the middle school at the end of the school year but recently accepted 10 classrooms.
Among the other District 4 schools that might be sharing space and facilities with charter organizations include Westchester Enriched Magnets School and Orville Wright Middle School in Westchester.
Green Dot Public Schools, which has been actively seeking a location on the Westside for a middle school, is now looking at renovating a building in Del Rey to accommodate its sixth and seventh graders, who are in a colocation at Cowan Avenue Elementary School in Westchester. They have a hearing at the Department of City Planning May 22.
Westchester Secondary Charter School, a proposed 6-8 secondary school that would like to eventually expand to a middle and high school, was offered 14 classrooms at Bret Hart Middle School in downtown Los Angeles by LAUSD last month. The school, which acquired its charter authorization from the county Board of Education after its application was rejected by LAUSD, filed a lawsuit against the school district instead of accepting the proffer.
Its founders contend that the district could have offered them space at several schools closer to Westchester and did not.
LAUSD Director of Communications Thomas Waldman did not return emails and calls by Argonaut press time regarding the Prop. 39 offers.


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