Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Dan Watson/The Signal

Albert Einstein charter petition denied

The Los Angeles County Board of Education voted 4-3 to deny a charter renewal petition appeal from Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences, which serves students in grades 7 to 12 in Santa Clarita, on Tuesday.

Staff from the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the county’s superintendent recommended the denial to the board due to concerns about the school’s student demographics and performance, past finances and operations.

The decision comes after nearly five months of petition submissions, reviews, interviews and campus visits from both the William S. Hart Union High School District and the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

On March 1, the Hart District denied Albert Einstein’s five-year charter renewal petition after seven years of operation under the district’s supervision mainly due to concerns regarding the school’s finances and governing structure.

“Regrettably, Einstein’s many admirable qualities must be weighed in the context of numerous egregious financial and management concerns for the years leading up to this renewal petition,” Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Mike Kuhlman said at the March 1 Hart Governing Board meeting.

The decision from the Los Angeles County Board of Education mirrored the concerns expressed by the Hart District.

Staff from the Office of Education voiced concerns about the charter school’s racial and ethnic balance, performance among all student groups, financial and operational plans, delinquent audits and a lack of transparency with the school’s involvement with the larger Charter Management Organization (CMO) AEALAS, Inc., according to a report released by the staff.

The report also noted that Albert Einstein presented an unsound educational program, was unlikely to successfully implement its proposed program and did not provide a comprehensive description of all required charter school petition elements.

Following the county’s denial of its charter petition appeal, Albert Einstein does have the option to appeal its petition again to the California State Board of Education.

If so, the petition appeal would follow the same appeals process with the state.

The State Board of Education recommends that charter schools submit their appeal three months before the state meeting they wish to be heard at.  This means the next meeting Albert Einstein could be heard at would be in September 2017 if they submit their appeal by June 2017.

It is unknown whether or not Albert Einstein officials will follow this appeals process or close the school which serves 465 students.

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