From Natasha Lindstrom from Victorville Daily Press:
ADELANTO • The trailblazing effort to force a major overhaul of Desert Trails Elementary by invoking the so-called “Parent Trigger” law failed to advance Wednesday night.
The Desert Trails Parent Union’s petition to reopen Desert Trails as a community charter school fell 20 signatures short of the 321 needed, Superintendent Darin Brawley announced at a special board meeting.
The Adelanto School District Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to reject the petition for failing to include valid parent signatures representing at least 50 percent of students at the school on Bellflower Street.
But the effort looks to be far from over, with a lengthy legal battle looming.
The parent union had already retained the pro-bono services of the Los Angeles law firm Kirkland & Ellis and vowed to take legal action if the school board denied its petition. They have questioned the validity of “rescissions” turned in to the district by anti-Trigger parents seeking to retract their sigs their natures.
Pro-bono work? Whats up with that? Looks as if they are looking to win by assaulting the school board with lawyers from one of the richest and most powerful firms in the country. From Kirkland & Ellis’ earlier today:
“We tried to avoid litigation,” said lawyer Mark Holscher at a press conference at the Los Angeles law office of Kirkland & Ellis, which is representing the parents free of charge. “But the district has done everything to invalidate this. We’re going to pursue this as far as it needs to be pursued.”
A lawyer can say anything they want. But about those signatures from Lindstrom:
The parent union first turned in the petition Jan. 12. The school district rejected it Feb. 21, citing technical errors and 97 signature revocations that left the parent union 16 signatures short. The parent union had one chance to resubmit the petition March 6. That petition included signatures for seven new students, and it reaffirmed support for 24 students who had been counted among the rescissions.
But rescissions for 70 students remained as of Wednesday, and 34 students were dropped from the count because they were no longer enrolled in the school as of March 6, according to the district. Signatures for 12 students weren’t counted because the petition form was in English but their parents requested school correspondence in Spanish.
In addition to the signature issues, Brawley called for rejecting the petition because the Desert Trails Parent Union failed to list its name on the petition. Regulations call for the names of any agencies supporting the petition through financial or volunteer support to prominently display their names on the front page of the petition, the superintendent’s memo stated.
Nor should anyone be surprised that Democrats for Education Reform have inserted themselves into the controversy:
Under the 2010 Parent Empowerment Act, parents can petition to trigger major reforms at low-performing schools, from replacing half the staff to converting the school to a charter. Former Sen. Gloria Romero — who authored California’s Parent Trigger law — showed at the Adelanto board meeting in support of the parent union. She and current lawmakers, including Sen. Sharon Runner and Sen. Jean Fuller, have called on the district attorney to investigate alleged fraud within the rescission documents.
“You are now essentially Ground Zero when it comes to testing a law that the nation is interested in,” Romero, now state director of Democrats for Education Reform, told the board. “There will be a full court hearing.”
Democrats for Education reform are privatization advocates and funded by wealthy hedge fund managers. On its board is the founder of Parent Revolution. Most are closely aligned with charter schools and draw funding from the same sources.
There are lots of players parachuting into this poor, small California community that stand to make a lot of money off charter school expansion. Parent trigger laws – if successful – can ease their path. They clearly aren’t concerned what happens to the people of Adelanto as they’ve bitterly dividing them. Defeated in Compton they’ve shamelessly flooded another community, desperate for a victory.