Hart Board to review revision to OFL charter petition

Opportunities for Learning Principal Julie Johnson, right, welcomes attendees at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new, larger Canyon Country site on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. Dan Watson/The Signal
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In order to comply with a new law about charter schools, Opportunities for Learning (OFL) charter school in the William S. Hart Union High School District revised part of its five-year charter school petition, which was approved by the Hart district in April 2017.

The new law relates to an October 2016 decision by the Third District Court of Appeals, which ruled that charter schools are no longer allowed to operate a resource center outside of their chartering district’s boundaries and within the same county as the district.

When the ruling was announced, OFL operated four resource centers in the Antelope Valley area.

“My understanding is a law was passed by the state relative to charters and funding that charters could only have schools within the attendance or boundaries of the district that chartered them or sponsored them,” Hart Board President Steven Sturgeon said. “This started last year with Mission View and OFL, and other districts have the same situation, as well.”

Last year, OFL applied for a waiver with the state Board of Education to allow OFL to continue its resource center locations until June 30, 2018, as it worked to comply with the new location requirement.

“They’ve been under an exemption for one year while they worked as being identified as being workforce programs for students,” Sturgeon said. “Under those guidelines they can have workforce programs outside of the district they were sponsored.”

In order to meet requirements for its approved charter petition, OFL must revise its charter to state that it is not operating resource centers outside of the Hart district’s boundaries. This change will not impact OFL locations in the Santa Clarita Valley, which serves students in grades seven to 12 who are drop-out recovery students or at risk of dropping out.

“We technically would be breaking the law if we received money from them since they would be from (operating in) another district,” Sturgeon said. “Antelope Valley could come back and complain or sue our district for allowing them to exist. This way, we remove them and it’s up to them to find sponsorship.”

This was done previously with Mission View charter school. Before renewing its charter petition with the Hart district, Mission View removed its resource center locations operating outside of the Hart district and re-chartered them independently with other school districts in their boundaries.

According to Wednesday’s Hart Board agenda, OFL re-adjusted its resource centers to locations that “are limited to the geographic boundaries of the district.”

The revisions to the charter petition is expected to be reviewed during a public hearing during Wednesday’s Hart Governing Board meeting.

The board is expected to take action on this proposed revision during its following meeting April 18.

Additional Agenda Items:

  • Reject Prime Contractor Bid for structural concrete as part of the Sierra Vista Junior High School Classroom Addition Project
  • Reject Prime Contractor Bid for landscape and irrigation as part of the Hart High School Infrastructure Phase 2A Project
  • Approve agreement with Facilitron for district-wide customer service software and online facility request and rental system
  • Approve agreement with SolarGnosis for professional consulting services

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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