ACSD Board Rejects Palm Lane Charter Petition

Jubilant union members are streaming out of the Anaheim City School District Board of Education meeting where the Board voted to reject the Parent Trigger petition to convert Palm Lane into a charter school.

District staff reported that only 48.8% of the signatures could be verified as valid, although there are enough unverified signatures that proponents still have time to correct that deficiency.

Staff also contended Palm Lane was not a “subject school” and noted two other technical deficiencies.

The Parent Trigger Law gives the petitioners time to correct the deficiencies; one of the charter proponents told me the district’s contention that Palm Lane is not a “subject school” is a flawed one.

More details to come.

Note: the local CSEA unit president< Kathleen Heard, just stopped a group of union members and exalted “CSEA was in the house!” One of the union members smiled and said “We’re not from this district! We’re from Magnolia!”

“Great! Thanks for coming!”


  1. Sounds like another case precedent to be made. Who was the law firm that the district used?

  2. What if you guys tried to get the other side? I know that’s a radical concept, but just asking. The Parent Trigger has been a consistent failure, and any idiot can see it would rip a community apart. You could actually sit down with someone who opposes it and listen to them — I know, I know, that’s kind of a shocking notion.

    • Caroline Graham is a parent puppet of the unions and the Leader of “Parents Across America”. She was bought by the establishment by giving special education services for her child while other children in San Francisco were denied and targeted by law firms. A charter school provides services for ALL children.

    • You mean like how the unions have been out there presenting the public with “both sides”?

      • I for, for one, don’t expect the charter people OR the union people to present both sides. What I do expect is for both sides to be given equal access to provide their own side.

  3. Caroline, I couldn’t agree more! It is amazing how incredibly one sided and skewed the information is. That was not the case at the board meeting. Gloria Romero’s grand statements of 70% solid were clearly proven false and parents who spoke “in favor” of the charter stood at the podium one after another singing the praises of the teachers at Palm Lane. In fact, many of the parents in favor of the charter spoke of budget cuts and simply wanting more money for the school. Hmmm…Senator? What did Senator Romero do while in office for education? What is Senator Huff doing now??

    • KS – why are you surprised those parents spoke well of the teachers? Contrary to what all the union commenters on this blog have been saying, this parent-driven effort to convert Palm Lane into charter school is NOT anti-teacher. It is about converting Palm Lane into an independent PUBLIC charter school, which will be more responsive to the parents and will provide more freedom for teachers to be their best.

      The school employee unions have been the ones fanning the flames of division, and then standing back to complain about how divisive the Parent Trigger Law. I was standing in the back of the school board meeting last night, and all the people next to me were union members. I was stunned by their derisive running commentary aimed at the pro-charter parents who spoke during public comments.

      • I’m not surprised the parents spoke well of the teachers. I am, however, surprised that you are still missing the point. The parents want the current teachers. The parents want the current administration. Restart means restart…with a completely different staff. Or is the union making that part up too? Are you going to start ranting and raving that an independent charter retains all of the teachers as ACSD employees??? No, teachers aren’t going to quit their jobs at ACSD to work for an independent charter, so don’t even attempt to say they have the option to stay.

        With regard to the comments you allegedly heard at the board meeting, those in favor of a charter were also wearing union stickers. Perhaps they were angry that the parents on their side were so positive about Palm Lane and all that is happening there? Or did you have a list and photo identification of everyone in attendance so you could verify who was a union member and who was not???

        I’m curious, since everything is the union’s fault, did they tell the petitioners to hand out different versions?? You know, give the Spanish speaking parents a copy that didn’t include the required language of the law?? Is the union responsible for making sure the English speaking parents received the proper language as well as the required attachments??

        I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to twist this comment to fit your distorted view. That being said, anyone to takes a moment to read and see that you avoid any portion of the issue that might conflict with your version of the truth.

        Being that you were so far in the back, you probably didn’t get to see the look on Gloria Romero’s face once she realized she had no support. I imagine she would’ve sent an aide, as Senator Huff did, if she had realized the Palm Lane parents were not fooled into this…

      • The parents were very supportive of the teachers but were they told that all those teachers would be gone if it becomes a charter?

  4. What’s really troubling about all this–aside from the incredibly misinformed people on both sides who are making decisions based on bad information and attacking each other, is the fact that this is all over a charter that no one could possibly know anything about. Parents are being told (or claiming) the charter will be better. Considering no charter has been selected (or as far as we know, expressed interest) the most anyone can say with accuracy is “the charter MIGHT be better.” And it might not. And if the unions are saying it will be worse, well, it might not. But considering the level of support from many parents for the current school, I don’t see how people can be so ready just to shut it down and replace it with a complete unknown. They’re being asked to scuttle what they have for an charter unknown operator with an unknown curriculum, unknown resources, and a unknown staff. I get that some parents are so dissatisfied they may be willing to do that, but others made it clear they aren’t. But what kind of crazy law creates that kind of totally blind choice?

  5. 52% invalid signatures? So who signed them?

    Haha. Who is driving that clown car?

  6. P.S. It’s not so easy to scam the public when you don’t have a board made up of puppets, is it?

  7. I can’t help but point out that for all the back and forth about unions here, none of that actually came into play in the final result. If what the District is saying is accurate, the organizers shot themselves in the foot. The unions didn’t get active until after the trigger was pulled. They may have persuaded some parents that they made a mistake, or informed others who hadn’t been asked, but all that had no bearing on last night’s decision. Now that the pro-side has more time, I’d love to see meetings open to all parents, let both sides make their cases, and let the parents vote when they’ve all heard every conceivable argument on both sides.

    • I totally agree with you.

    • I agree as well. I’ve had a lot of difficulty understanding why statements regarding the union holding informational meetings was such a huge issue, considering the petition was turned in and the law would not allow for parents to rescind their signatures. Matthew Cunningham was asked his opinion on why it mattered, and he neglected to give a direct answer. No one on the side of the charter can answer why it was such a huge deal for the union to approach parents and attempt to offer their side…especially light of the fact that the meetings were held after the point parents could change their mind about signing. There is obviously a reason why Romero has not wanted the parents to hear the other side. I’ve not seen any comments from her since she realized that the solidarity at Palm Lane was in fact against her.

  8. We will not give up inconverting Palm Lane into a charter school. Our children deserve a better education.

    • Ms. Lamuerte, have you been provided the information on the charter that will be taking over if this process goes through at Palm Lane? You seem so sure that it will be better. I’m not finding that information anywhere and would like to investigate the charter slotted to take over. In addition, I assume you received the English version of the petition and got more information than those who only speak and read Spanish. It seems as though the petitioners were trying to avoid disclosing all of the information to non English speaking parents, does it not?

  9. I have a question for the Palm Lane parents, it is being asked in a spirit of respect, I genuinely care, and I hope someone can please help me fill in the blanks. As background, I put in 10 to 20 hours a week volunteering for a program that teaches Anaheim’s 3rd graders about local history at no cost to the School District, we carry the full weight of the program ourselves, and we even fund raise for the busses when needed. I care very much about your kids, and I am very concerned about how much info is based on first hand observation and how much is spin and propaganda from someone looking to make a profit running a school for your kids, and I hope a parent can help me understand this please.

    Has anyone explained precisely what a Charter School will do differently than the current program? Can someone please tell me about specific deficiencies in the school that parents have seen firsthand while volunteering on campus?

    I ask because almost none of the Anaheim elementary schools send enough parent volunteers when their kids come to our program, and Palm Lane has been no exception, so my fear is that these students will find themselves in a Charter system dependent upon parent participation, when in fact many parents are not able to participate at levels consistent with successful Charters. Please note I say “unable,” I am not in any way saying that they don’t care, but I understand the economic reality of Anaheim families. We are all working too many hours, and trying to get through the never ending list of “life” that happens after school with dry cleaner and groceries and laundry and dinner and bath time for multiple kids, and about 9 pm Junior finally cleans out his backpack when you notice the smell of rotting banana and comes up with a weeks old notice that he needs a Velveeta box for class tomorrow so he can make a covered wagon, and your family has not eaten Velveeta in years much less kept a box and you can’t get one in the morning you have a meeting at 7 am…I get it, I have lived it, times FOUR kids, and I want to know that these changes are based on realistic expectations. I want to know that what happens in my old neighborhood is a positive step into the future. So I hope some parents can help me understand HOW MUCH participation can be expected from parents to make the Charter School a success, and what specifically are the Charters claiming to do that cannot be done under the current system? Thank you.

  10. I want to know specifically what failures the parents have seen while on campus that they believe will change with a Charter School. I am trying to weed out the rumor and get to the substance of the complaints. Yes we get it, the school has failed to produce test results consistent with success and we need to fix it and we need to fix it now. Have we established EXACTLY what is happening that is creating the low test scores? Have we established what a Charter School brings to the table to fix that outcome? There are many Charter providers, each with its own focus, how do we even begin to figure out what type of Charter program is needed to meet the needs not being met now?

    The patient is sick, that is clear. Does the patient have cancer or diabetes? Better figure that out quick before you give insulin to the guy who needs chemo. And the best way to establish first hand info on the patient’s symptoms is to ask people who know the poor schmuck in the ICU bed. So I have asked Palm Lane parents to please weigh in, especially those who have been spending time on campus and can offer specific examples of “I saw this scenario YY happen when scenario XX should have happened.” In short, I don’t want to be lobbied by the Lincoln Club crowd seeking financial profit, I want to hear from parents whose treasure is in their children.

    I also know it is critical to establish what level of parent participation can be expected, in order to select the right type of program. My statement that volunteers are few and far between based on my first hand real life daily experience with Anaheim elementary schools is not a judgement on the parents, it is simply a reality we need to factor into determining which programs will work AND which programs can be implemented if parents do not show up to help. Do you tailor a tightly structured program intended to be run like clockwork by one teacher with few or no parents in the classroom? Or do you get the luxury of breaking down that class of 30 fresh-faced angels into smaller groups for “centers” and “learning stations” where they might get areas of their little brains lit up by the music classes and art lessons and creative writing projects that we KNOW improve test scores and retention of info….and we better figure that out FAST because if we count on the smaller groups learning brain activating lessons with parental help, and that parental help is on the way to the second job and can’t come in, now you have a teacher even less equipped to handle those 30 cherubs than the public system is doing now. For once I have something in common with the Lincoln Club other than a love of Reagan, and that is none of us have kids at Palm Lane. Unlike the Lincoln Club crowd, I am a taxpayer in the school district and I want to know-I have the right to know-that the Lincoln Club’s backdoor move to dictate outcomes in Anaheim schools is going to be a wise investment for MY family, because they sure are not making the investment, despite their very active status here.

    The people of Anaheim WANT to stand by you, Palm Lane. This blog claims a lot more Anaheim schools qualify for parent trigger so I am not sure I buy the premise of “organic parent led protest” at one and only one school. Help me understand precisely how Palm Lane has failed and precisely what we need to look for in a Charter School to remedy that failure, so that we can support these kids and parents who deserve the best future we can offer. Thank you.

    • “This blog claims a lot more Anaheim schools qualify for parent trigger so I am not sure I buy the premise of “organic parent led protest” at one and only one school.”

      It’s too bad you let your prejudices get in the way like that, Cynthia. I don’t “claim” anything: there are objective criteria that define whether or not a school is qualifies under the Parent Trigger Law. Ed Ring of the California Policy Center posted a list of OC schools that qualify for the Parent Trigger Law; that is the sources of my “claim.”

      Why is it so hard to believe a group of parents would organize themselves to utilize this law at “one and only one school”? Would you find it more believable if it happened simultaneously at all Parent Trigger eligible schools in ACSD? Or would you see a conspiracy in the works regardless of situation?

    • “The people of Anaheim WANT to stand by you, Palm Lane.”

      Who made Cynthia Ward the voice of the “people of Anaheim?” What an ego! Why do Palm Lane parents have to prove anything to Cynthia Ward? Why should these parents give a hoot what she thinks?


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