Making Waves Charter Academy decided to pull their expansion petition from the County Board of Education May 6 Agenda Thank you to everyone who wrote emails to the county board members, it worked! We will keep an eye on them, as they could bring forward this expansion request again in the near future, so stay tuned!
Stop Making Waves Expansion
Making Waves Academy Charter School at Richmond Hilltop is petitioning to expand. Currently it is a 5-12 grade school, it is asking to add a 4th grade (168 students). However, as the school’s website indicates, its ultimate goal is to expand into a K-12. This would be disastrous for the WCCUSD financially.
Making Waves Academy’s petition to expand will be on the agenda for next week’s County Board of Education meeting (Wednesday, May 6). Our opposition needs to be expressed to the Board well in advance, as they may be asked to vote on it at this meeting, but we won’t know until the agenda comes out on Friday, May 1.
Please take a few minutes to email County Board members and the County Superintendent to voice your opposition to this expansion request. Below is a sample email with bullet points. Feel free to copy and paste, or write your own message, and copy all board members and Superintendent Mackey.
Fatima Alleyne: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Butler: email@example.com
Vikki Chavez: firstname.lastname@example.org
Annette Lewis: email@example.com
Mike Maxwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Superintendent Lynn Mackey: email@example.com
Board Members and Ms. Mackey,
I have become aware that Making Waves Academy in Richmond, CA, is petitioning to add a 4th grade, and that their ultimate plan is to become a K-12. If this expansion is approved, the impact on the approximate 32,000 WCCUSD students in our traditional public schools would be enormous. Please do your due diligence to review pertinent information about this important issue.
Even just the loss of 168 4th graders due to this expansion would greatly impact the 4th grades at the surrounding elementary schools, such as Tara Hills, Bay View, Highland and Montalvin. We cannot afford for these schools to decrease their enrollment.
Additionally, the following concerns about Making Waves Academy are reasons to NOT approve this request to expand.
- As you are aware, the WCCUSD is already grappling with a deficit of approximately $49 million dollars that must be resolved within the next two years. Now with COVID-19, the district is facing even more financial instability.
- If you approve this expansion, the WCCUSD will lose at least 168 more students initially. This alone will cost the district approximately $1,680,000. It will hurt WCCUSD students.
- According to this In The Public Interest Report, charter schools are already costing the WCCUSD at least $27.9 million per year. We cannot afford this expansion.
- According to this article, Making Waves Academy at Hilltop has already taken over approximately 13.4 acres of Industrial Business land that contained 165,387square feet of one- and two-story commercial and industrial developments. According to the General Plan for the City of Richmond, the Southern Shoreline and Hilltop areas were supposed to promote uses such as high-density housing. The school is already poorly located, causing traffic, parking, and public safety problems that would only be worsened by this expansion.
- Making Waves Academy began as a selective organization, and still is one. Its student body is not reflective of the population of the WCCUSD. For example, Making Waves Academy has only 5.9% special education students whereas the district has 12.70% special education students.
- There is no public demand for this expansion.
Please do NOT approve this expansion for Making Waves Academy Charter School.
New Report by Public Interest
Charters Hurting School District
"Public school students in California’s West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) are paying dearly for privately managed charter schools they don’t attend. Unchecked charter school expansion in recent years has added to the cost of educating students who attend traditional public schools. This has increased pressure on the district to cut spending on academic tutoring, services for English learners, and more.
"Charter schools add $27.9 million a year to WCCUSD’s costs of running its own schools, this study finds. That’s a net loss, after accounting for all savings realized by no longer educating the charter school students. As a result, the district has $978 less in funding for each traditional public school student it serves. This previously unmeasured cost is a conservative estimate. The district faces additional fiscal pressures due to charter schools that are too difficult to measure, such as the inequitable proportion of state funding it receives for educating high-needs students.
"...this report’s aim is not to debate the value of charter schools as educational policy or review all fiscal pressures facing districts but to document a cost that has previously gone unmeasured and ignored in California educational planning."
New data released in May confirms that charter schools, which are publicly paid for but privately managed, drain funding from traditional, neighborhood schools. In this five-minute documentary, California’s public school leaders, teachers, and students describe the damage their schools endure because the state allows for an unlimited number of charter schools.
The report, Breaking Point: The Cost of Charter Schools for Public School Districts, calculates the fiscal impact of charter schools on Oakland Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, and San Jose’s East Side Union High School District.
- Charter schools cost Oakland Unified $57.3 million per year. That’s $1,500 less in funding for each student that attends a neighborhood school.
- The annual cost of charter schools to the San Diego Unified is $65.9 million.
- In East Side Union, the net impact of charter schools amounts to a loss of $19.3 million per year.
Gov signs Charter School Legislation
On October 3, Governor Newsom signed the charter school legislation that resulted from a year of intense political battle. The compromise engineered by the Governor was embraced by both the California Teachers Association as well as the Charter Schools Association.
In fact, the legislation was a far weaker bill than what was passed by the Assembly and less than what we needed. But the new legislation does give us some tools which may help in battling the growth of charters. First, the law allows local school boards to consider the economic and community impacts of a new charter. Second, it eliminates the ability of the Charter to appeal to the State Board. Now a Charter can appeal a decision only to the County Board.
Unfortunately the main provisions of law does not go into effect until next July and there are seven charter renewals and expansions coming up in this period (Five at the WCCUSD and two at the County).
On May 22nd the Assembly passed AB 1505, which, among other provisions, would eliminate the right of charters to appeal school district decisions to the county and state, and permits financial impact to districts as a factor in charter decisions. Since Charters rejected by local school boards have easily gotten approved at the county and state levels, the measure was intended to return to local school boards the ability to oversee public schools using public funds. The vote was 44 in favor, 19 against - a solid 'yes' vote.
In early June the report of the Charter School Task Force (see accompanying article) came out. The majority proposed reforms along the same lines as the Assembly bill. It was weaker only in that it allowed for limited appeals to the county but not the state.
But on July 10 the Senate Education Committee approved language that ignored the Task Force Recommendations. It also undermined the main point if the Assembly bill --to restore local control to school districts.
The Senate Education Committee
Removed language that:
- Requires current county and state charters to apply to the district, once their county and state charters expire
- Blocks County and State appeals
- Eliminates academic performance as the most important factor in deciding revocation.
Substantially weakened language that
- Allows local school boards to consider the financial impact on the district
Added language that:
- Grandfathered in charter school teachers once new credentialing regulations start in 2020.
- Allows charter appeals to the county and places a greater burden on the local school boards.
The result is far weaker than the May 22 version. Despite the widespread recognition that our system of public schools is in jeopardy, charter school money and influence in Sacramento still has disproportionate power over legislation.
District Elections for all WCCUSD Trustees in 2020
A more detailed map defining districts for School Board Trustees with supporting information can be seen here. All Trustees will be up for election in November 2020. Districts #4 and #5 will be two-year terms in this election while #1,#2, and #3 will be four-year terms to allow for staggered terms ongoing.
Current Trustees live in these districts:
- Panas # 5
- Cuevas #5
- Mister #3
- Hernadez-Jarvis #1
- Lara #4
June 2019 state conventions
California Democratic Party votes for Charter Moratorium.