District officials in California have confided in me that it is virtually impossible to stop a charter proposal, no matter how bad it is or how little it is needed. If the district turns down the proposal, the charter advocates appeal to the Los Angeles County School Board, where they are often approved. In the off-chance that both the district and the county turn down their proposal, the advocates appeal to the state, where they are almost certain to win approval.


Here is an example.


Two parents proposed to open a dual-language immersion school that would teach Spanish, German, Italian, and French. The school would be called the International Studies Language Academy. The Glendale school board voted against the proposal, 5-0. The proponents appealed to the County office, which did an extensive review and turned them down, 5-1.


Staff at the Los Angeles County Office of Education weighed the petition as part of the Charter School Review Team, made up of county officials drawn from various departments, including the controller’s office, the curriculum department and the division of accountability.


County officials determined the plan “provides an unsound educational program” and that the petitioners “are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the proposed educational program,” according to the report.


“We’re disappointed, but know the political climate is tough for charters in the L.A. area right now,” Bonacci said in an email.


Similar to Glendale school board members, county officials found several faults with the school’s financial plan and deemed it “unrealistic,” in the report, highlighting how the school underestimated teacher salaries, benefits and the cost for books and materials.


In another instance, county officials noted that the school planned to mail bank statements directly to Academica, a Florida-based charter school operator.


The school’s lack of internal control in processing checks “can result in fiscal mismanagement,” the report stated.


Despite those findings, the petition has won support from the California Charter Schools Assn., whose manager for regional advocacy, Allison Hendrick, urged that the county board approve the appeal.


Ah, so the school will be managed by Academica, the political powerhouse in Florida that operates for profit. Due diligence would suggest that the California officials learn more about Academica, whose owners have assembled a vast real estate empire. In Florida, Academica had the help of a state senator who chairs the education appropriations committee. Who will help them in California?


Let’s see what happens to this petition, where local officials declared it to be pedagogically and financially unsound.