Last week, Orange County Superior Curt Judge Andrew Banks ruled in favor of parents who used the Parent Trigger Law to convert their school into an independent charter school. Banks castigated the Anaheim City School District’s behavior during that process, calling it “unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.” He ruled the parents had more than enough signatures and that the district was wrong in contending the Parent Trigger Law did not apply to Palm Lane. Banks ordered the school district to allow the parents to move forward with the charter conversion process.
ACSD Board member Bob Gardner told the OC Register:
Board president Gardner said he believes the district’s process was fair, but that he hopes the district and the parents can have a good working relationship moving forward.
“I feel like we tried our best to honor the law and still feel that the process that counted the votes was straightforward and without prejudice,” he said. “Moving forward, I hope we’re able to work harmoniously with the parents.”
Gardner strikes me as a well-meaning man, but he’s dreaming if he thinks the district behaved fairly. The right thing for the ACSD Board to do is apologize to those parents.
That hasn’t happened. Furthermore, the ACSD Board voted to continue fighting the Palm Lane parents by appealing Judge Banks’ ruling. Maybe “working harmoniously with parents” means something different to the ACSD leadership than it does to the rest of the English-speaking world. This is a district that has to rely on fundraising to fund music programs in just a few of the district’s schools – but it willing to incur additional legal fees to fight a group of its own parents who are merely (and correctly) exercising their rights under state law?
Why is the Anaheim City School District so terrified by the prospect of a single charter school that it is pulling out all the stops to squash this group of parents?