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Einstein denied Saugus elementary charter for 3rd time

Posted: October 16, 2012 10:00 p.m.
Updated: October 16, 2012 10:00 p.m.
 

With a 4-1 vote, the Saugus Union School District Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to deny an elementary school charter for the Albert Einstein Academy for Arts, Letters and Sciences.

The academy has been seeking to amend its charter to expand its school to include kindergarten-through-sixth-grade students. This is the third time the school has been denied an elementary school charter by the Saugus Union School District.

Einstein Academy is already chartered to provide education for middle and high school students in the William S. Hart Union High School District.

A staff report on the matter raised concerns about both the fiscal solvency of an elementary charter and whether the Einstein Academy would be able to fully comply with necessary provisions to become chartered, such as offering and funding programs for English-learning and special-needs students.

Jeffrey Shapiro, executive director of the Einstein Academy’s foundation, said the next step will be an appeal to the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

“We did everything we could to work with the board and they did everything they could to avoid working with us,” he said.

Board member Doug Bryce said he voted against the charter due in part to his concerns about the current Einstein Academy governing board’s potential violations of the Brown Act, which dictates conduct of open meetings. Specifically, Bryce said he saw discrepancies and inconsistencies with meeting minutes and sometimes did not see minutes at all.

“This is governance,” he said. “You want to be our partners? Get your act together.”

The only vote for the charter was board member Stephen Winkler, who also voted to approve the charter when it was before the board in June. He said all the concerns he raised about the charter were adequately addressed and that he thought other members of the board were voting philosophically, not based on the facts. Board President Rose Koscielny called those claims “ridiculous.”

Shapiro also called portions of the charter review anti-Semitic, specifically concerns over whether the proposed school would be sectarian. Shapiro later said he said he was not trying to accuse any specific individual of being anti-Semitic, but that he stood by his general comments.

Koscielny took exception to those claims.

“I think you owe our board an apology, and our administrators,” she told Shapiro. “How dare you?”

lmoney@the-signal.com

661-287-5525

 

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