Thursday, April 16, 2015

ICEF SSC stays calm until after meeting

Your diligent, dutiful and humble Stoner representative attended today's ICEF SSC meeting to present the communities concerns.
   Public comments were moved to second on the agenda. The ICEF community played it nonchalant during the public comments. After my spiel, I opened the floor to questions. An ICEF teacher asked why there was no colocation now. The principal quickly responded citing the missed deadline. I quickly added that that was the technical reason, but that there were other issues such as security and safety, including an incident were a toddler was almost set on fire over a parking dispute, and and incident where a charter student was stripped naked and hosed down outside.
   After that the meeting moved forward with no problem, almost as if I hadn't even spoke.
   However, after the meeting things went a little off.
    As the meeting progressed, I realized that the primary language of the three ICEF parents at the SSC was Spanish, since there was translation for them during the meeting. There was translation for them except during the public comments. So, it was not clear to me if they understood my comments and concerns
    When the meeting ended, I decided to schmooze the ICEF SSC chair. I introduced myself in Spanish and spoke with him in Spanish about his role as chair and my concerns about the co-location. The translator/office assistant stood next to him and would shake her head, almost as if disputing each point I made. The ICEF principal and teachers stayed in the classroom hovering closely, waiting to see what I was trying to do.
    After a few moments, the principal interrupted in English with a question. I turned to talk to her and asked her what she knew of the co-location. She shook my hand, thanked me for my comments. I asked if she if she had read this blog. She grimaced and said they were going through as planned.
    I replied that it was a shame and the whole lot of us; parents, teachers, admin and I began to walk out. We exited the room and I continued with my concerns to the principal as she walked to her office. She quickly lost composure. She said there were "two sides to each story" and told me I need to "consider the children." That's what I am doing, I said.
    ... and she's right, there are two sides, the side that is taking, and the side being taken from.
    If dealing with one person face to face is a problem, what will next year be like?
    While it might be easy to blow off one guy in a meeting on your home turf, it is going to be a lot more difficult to ignore scores of people when you move in with them.
I am still praying for some Hail Mary that will bring this nightmare on my street to an end, but it looks like we are co-location bound.  Pray for us.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ICEF SSC rescheduled to tomorrow 4/16

Maybe it's was just a coincidence that when the Stoner community started inquiring about the next ICEF Vista School Site Council meeting, the meeting was rescheduled. 
    At any rate, as promised, the Stoner community representatives will be attending the SSC meeting tomorrow to represent the community's concerns about the co-location, and dispel the myths about the co-location and the opposition.
    In February, the ICEF SSC/ELAC discussed the co-location. When the Stoner community saw the meeting minutes in March, they were incensed and referred to it as "stealing from Peter to give to Paul".
     ICEF's plan was to take set aside rooms at Stoner that are used for music, art, special needs and parent's center, among other resources, to open up classrooms on the ICEF Vista St. Gerard campus to bring "art, computer lab and resource room"
   We hope the ICEF community will have a better understanding of our concerns once they have a human face to the concerns. We look forward to speaking to the ICEF community tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stoner community to bring concerns to ICEF SSC/ELAC

ICEF Vista SSC/ELAC less then 72 hours to meeting and no posted agenda
ICEF Vista SSC/ELAC less then 72 hours to meeting and no posted agenda
      In an unprecedented move, a community school is taking their grips to the SSC/ELAC of a charter school that wants to co-locate next year.
     This Thursday, April 9 at 5 PM, the Stoner community is taking their concerns about the proposed co-location to the ICEF School Site Council (SSC) and the ICEF Vista English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) monthly meeting in room 11 of ICEF Vista on the St. Gerard campus.

     Stoner parents and community are mad and are fighting back aginst the proposed co-location. Parents are saying that it amounts to "robbing Peter to pay to Paul" because resources would be shifted from Stoner students to give those same resources to ICEF students.
     The ICEF SSC/ELAC previously discussed the co-location at Stoner in their February meeting. When the Stoner community saw the meeting minutes in March, they were incensed and wanted to attend the next SSC/ELAC meeting to express their outrage to the proposed co-location.

      However, there is concern if the meeting will actually happen. Here we are, less then 72 hours from the meeting, and reports are that no schedule has been posted physically or online. This could create a violation of the Brown Act for the ICEF SSC/ELAC meeting.

    If the meeting happens on Thursday, or whenever it happens, the Stoner community will be there.

Monday, April 6, 2015

ICEF blames co-location concerns on a "few people" and other new myths

    In a tone deaf move that imitates the misguided steps of the previously co-located charter at Stoner ES,  ICEF is blaming the co-location concerns on a "few people" who want to "stir unrest and provide misinformation in an attempt to inflame public sentiment over the co-location."
    The notice pictured, dated March 6, was still taped outside the ICEF Vista main office today. This notice presents new co-location myths that need to be debunked.

MYTH# 1. "There are a few people in the community who do not agree with this placement"

TRUTH: Over 100 Stoner and ICEF community member wrote letters, sent emails and signed petitions opposing the co-location.
      The Stoner community also held a protest on March 10 to oppose the co-location in front of the ICEF Vista campus at the St. Gerard Majella church.
    Just as CWC did last year, ICEF is trying to minimize the concerns of an entire community by claiming that only a "few" representatives are the ones with concerns.

MYTH #2. "We believe that keeping students within the community where they live and play is an important factor in their education."

TRUTH:  This platitude sounds great, and I would love it if it was true, but it doesn't jibe with the reality of this co-location. More then half of the 170 students who will be co-located will come from outside of the neighborhood and will thus be leaving "the community where they live and play" to take resources from our neighborhood students.

MYTH #3. "unassigned rooms"

TRUTH: A few weeks ago, they were calling them "empty" rooms, now they are "unassigned" We've gone over this before, these "unassigned rooms" are our arts, music, computer lab, parents center, etc, etc, etc.... [read more here]

MYTH #4 "...if ICEF Vista does not co-locate at Stoner, another charter school will."

TRUTH: Ah, the threat of inevitability. This is my favorite myth. CWC would often use this threat too: if not us, then someone else will co-locate, just get used to it.
     Just a few weeks back, ICEF admin was telling their community that the co-location was a "done deal" and could not be stopped. This was later walked back by ICEF when opposition to the co-location started.
     ICEF is using the threat of an inevitable co-location at Stoner as justification for their proposed occupation to both the Stoner and ICEF community. Someone will be there, so why not us?
    If some charter will inevitability co-locate at Stoner, then why is no charter co-located at Stoner right now? It looks like the inevitable can be evaded.    

     This co-location does not need to happen. ICEF still has until May 1 to withdraw their request, or not respond to the offer and end this proposed travesty with no penalty.
     LAUSD issued the Final Offer for space on April 1, 2015. It is now up to ICEF. They can choose to do what's best for the community or what is best for their business. They can choose to continue being the "school at the church" or they can be greeted with the following at their entrance if they co-locate at Stoner.