DISTRICT GIVES OK FOR ONLINE CHARTER SCHOOL APPROVAL COMES ON BOARD'S 3-2 VOTE.
LANCASTER -- Overruling opposition from teachers, Antelope Valley Union High School District trustees have approved an online charter school.
The 3-2 vote came on the condition that a suitable memorandum of understanding is developed that will detail how the school will be operated, trustees said.
"If the MOU does not hold up, then the board can vote to revoke the approval," said trustee Ira Simonds, who along with trustee Donita Winn, voted against the charter petition.
The split vote came during a special meeting Wednesday, a week after a public hearing in which teachers voiced their opposition to the school.
The Los Angeles County Online High School is proposed by a firm affiliated with the University of Phoenix. The school is set to start in August.
The school missed the district's November deadline to submit a charter petition, but the board in early May voted 3-2 to change the district's charter-school policy to allow consideration of late applications under "special circumstances."
Trustee Al Beattie said the charter school will give certain students another educational option and that students will have to comply with all of the district's graduation requirements, including completing a senior project.
"I think this is an opportunity to provide a choice for students in the valley that are currently not participating in the conventional school system," Beattie said. "There are a number of students who are in some form of home study, possibly supported by a charter school but not one overseen by our district."
Had the district not approved the charter school, Beattie said, it would have been approved by another district with the potential of taking away Antelope Valley students.
Simonds, a retired district teacher, said he voted against the school because he didn't feel it would provide a quality education.
"Students need to have that one-on-one (teacher connection)," Simonds said. He also noted that the charter school was up against a state deadline Wednesday to qualify for advanced funding from the state.
"We voted so they could get state funding," Simonds said.
Winn said going to a regular high school, with its socialization and students working in groups, is part of a complete education.
"There are things you get when you learn with other people," Winn said. "We need to be teaching kids morals and ethics. How do you do that online? I do not feel it's a full education process."
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||May 25, 2007|
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