If the Anaheim Elementary School District board approves the proposal next month, Palm Lane Elementary will become a charter school for the 2018-19 school year.
Parents who were dissatisfied with the school’s performance launched an effort in 2015 to use the state’s so-called “parent trigger” law to convert the school to a charter.
They gathered signatures supporting the change and fought the district in court, ultimately winning in July when the California Supreme Court declined to hear the district’s appeal.
Now an operator for the school and a board to oversee it have been chosen, and the plan is up for review by the public and the district board, which must vote on whether to approve the charter.
At a meeting Wednesday, Nov. 15, several parents urged the board to sign off on the charter without delay so they can begin improving the school.
Speaking in Spanish with a translator, Anaheim Parent Union member Jeanette Saldivar said state data show a majority of district students are performing below expectations in reading and math, and Palm Lane’s statistics are even worse.
“And we as parents are told that (these) numbers are not important,” she said, but the statistics do matter “if our children want to be attorneys or doctors at one point.”
If Palm Lane converts to a charter school, it will be only the second school – after Adelanto’s Desert Trails Elementary – to make the switch using the parent trigger, though parents at several other schools have circulated petitions that in some cases provided them more leverage to negotiate with their districts.
New Century Charter Public Schools would operate Palm Lane, and its curriculum would focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, said Vanessa Besack, president of the proposed charter school’s governing board.
Students would also work on building character and take time each day to review their academic progress and get extra help if needed.
“Obviously we want these students to succeed not only at our school but as they go to middle school, to high school, to college and careers,” said Besack, a business consultant who has worked with a community college district and a charter school.
All current students at Palm Lane would attend the charter school unless their parents request a transfer, which the district already allows at schools that have the space for more students, said Mary Grace, Anaheim Elementary School District’s assistant superintendent of…