The LA Unified school board did a lot of hand-wringing over a decision this week to deny the opening of a new charter school while approving half-a-dozen others.
After several failed efforts to seek a compromise that would have granted Today’s Fresh Start Adams Hyde Park a charter, the board voted to follow the Charter Schools Division staff recommendation not to award it. Although the superintendent of Today’s Fresh Start, Jeanette Parker, said this would affect about 200 children who were planning to start school Sept. 8, district officials said the families should have known that the charter was revoked because the state shut it down on June 30.
Investigations and reports of the Today’s Fresh Start Charter Schools go back to 2007 and involve issues of nepotism, accounting discrepancies, misreporting enrollment, building safety and other legal concerns. A finding from the California Department of Education included questions about a claimed reimbursement of $455,739 to the child development program and “registration fees and two parking tickets for the president’s Rolls Royce and Mercedes automobiles.”
Nevertheless, Parker and her husband, Clark Parker, both pleaded with the school board to allow them to open their school and ignore the staff recommendations.
“We have had remarkable success, our API scores hit 833,” Jeanette Parker told the board. She then read a letter from Los Angeles City Council member Curren Price Jr., urging strong support for the school and said “to have the school denied for at-risk disadvantaged, socio-economic youth would cause irrefutable harm.”