Alameda County Board of Education Unanimously Denies Charter School Petition

Despite the board's vote, supporters say they will appeal to the state.

On Tuesday evening, the Alameda County Board of Education unanimously rejected the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation's petition to build Tassajara Prep, a charter high school in Dublin.

The Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, which runs the Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory High School that opened a year ago, petitioned to open the new school next fall. It would be the city's second high school and would begin in fall 2012 with a freshman class of 216 students. 

The board had four central issues with the petition:

1. The commute for some Dublin students, about 20 to 30 minutes, did not warrant the building of another high school.

2. The petition lacked supported.

3. The content of the petition wasn't legally sound.

4. The school hasn't established a concrete location.

Derek Austin, General Legal Counsel for the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, responded by saying the commute from east Dublin to the current high school takes a toll on the potential productivity of Dublin students and teachers. He said that both students and teachers are in fact in favor of the charter school and that the petition is legally sound.

Austin added that the establishment of a location is a legality being sorted out and could temporarily be fixed by educating charter students at .

After a brief discussion of these matters between Austin and the board, members of the public expressed their divided opinions on the petition.

On one side of the room, students and a teacher from a Livermore charter school and several individuals associated with the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation took turns expressing their sentiments that the charter school represents a more intimate and hands-on form of education.

They also stressed to the board that such an alternative education would be beneficial to Dublin students as it has been to students and educators in Livermore.

The opposition responded with claims that the education outlined in the petition was not sound, that there are already enough alternative forms of education in Dublin and schools in the area could be detrimentally affected by losing students to a new school.

Dozens of opponents had already .

Before Tuesday evening's vote, board member Joaquin Rivera spoke to the petitioners.

"You have failed to show that you have any community support. I believe that, financially, this school will not be successful," said Rivera.

However, despite the apparent setback for those in favor of the petition, Austin said the evening's events were routine for the typical progress of the creation of a charter school.

"Even though we've been working on this for two years, it's still a relatively young charter school act," Austin said. "This is very normal, our next step is appealing to the state. This evening was not a let-down."

In October, a  the petition, following a  in September in which dozens of parents and students turned out against it.

The first petition for the proposed charter school was denied by both the and the Alameda County Office of Education last year. Tri-Valley Learning Corporation was in the process of appealing those decisions to the state when it withdrew the application in April.

Click here to read Tassajara Prep's updated petition.

David January 11, 2012 at 06:14 PM
So now what are the chances the state DOE will approve the charter?


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