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Einstein needs to get on with its mission

Posted: April 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

We here in the Santa Clarita Valley tend to elect fiscally prudent local government leaders whom we expect to be responsible with our hard-earned tax money.

Consistently across our City Council, school boards, water boards and other local public agencies, we place people whom we expect to act in the public trust and be frugal with funds. Few things anger us more than careless distribution from the public trough.

So when Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences came back to Saugus Union School District a fourth time with an elementary school charter petition that — by the school spokesman’s own admission — was essentially unchanged from the third application, we had to wonder what the point was.

We further wonder at the point of school officials promising to appeal Saugus’s negative decision to the county. Twice before Einstein’s appeals have failed at the county level.

We’re not experts in school chartering, but we do know that winning a charter is a privilege made possible by the state of California but closely governed to avoid abuse of public money.

We do know that school boards have strict guidelines for approving charters because the process gives taxpayers’ money to people who operate outside the normal hierarchy of public school accountability.

Granting a charter is an act of trust and calls for assurances of trustworthiness on the part of those who would receive public funds. We find no assurances of trustworthiness in the actions of a school that would ignore the guidelines laid down by the state to ensure proper use of public funds — and still expect to receive those public funds.

We find no assurances of trustworthiness in a school whose spokesman would offer false information to justify its cause — as Einstein’s spokesman did in calling a San Diego County independent studies school a duplicate of the school sought for Saugus.

We applaud Saugus Union’s judiciousness in distributing public funds.

We also note the cost to the district of repeatedly processing a charter petition, estimated at $40,000 to $50,000 per application. This is taxpayer money that could be better spent than on badgering a public school district with repeated but unchanged applications.

If Einstein’s agenda is truly providing a quality education for Santa Clarita Valley elementary school students, it will open a private school and proceed with its mission.

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