Sunday, June 7, 2015

ICEF Vista amateur hour: Campus Co-location Committee follies

This year, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortinez is trying a new way to handle the problems created by charter co-locations. He is requiring schools with co-locations to create a CAMPUS CO-LOCATION Committee (CCC) that would contain the plant manager, both schools principals, lead teachers and parent representatives from both the district and charter school. The committee's purpose is to: (1) create the Shared Use Agreement between district and charter school, and (2) incorporate the charter into the District safe school plan.
    On January 23, 2015, Superintendent Ramon Cortinez sent out a letter (see images) to all charter principals whose school had been given a preliminary co-location offer. In the letter, Cortinez lays out the timeline and steps that will be required.
   The last two items in the timeline are that in May the schools will form a CCC and the group will meet before the Memorial Day weekend.  LAUSD ESC West set up an initial meeting on May 21 for schools with co-locations on the Westside, including Stoner and ICEF. Stoner representatives showed up, but ICEF did not.
   In order to get the ball rolling, Stoner scheduled a meeting directly with ICEF for Friday, June 5. ICEF showed up with a member of the board, the ICEF Vista director and two teachers. They were unaware of the CCC requirements, claiming they never received the letter and objected to the presence of a Stoner parent at the meeting.  ICEF also claimed that they had not received an invitation to the May 21 meeting to which the LAUSD Prop 39 representative responded with a sign and and a "No."
      So, the meeting technically wasn't the first CCC meeting since the CCC contains the plant manager, ICEF principal and ICEF Charter  parents.  However, the ICEF representatives did try to begin working on Use Agreement.

   A few items were discussed, and ICEF's lack of basic knowledge regarding the co-location were troubling to say the least.
   ICEF Director Buczek began negotiations by suggesting having similar start times.  I objected citing traffic and safety issues, and also noted that because of the tension between the  two schools, we would want time between the schools'  start times. (Besides, ICEF had told their community that there would be a definite divide between the school and similar start times would not allow for their desired divide.)
  The issue of  campus clean up came up and ICEF director suggested that a parent or staff could clean up their side of campus. I objected, and pointed out that the final agreement specifically states that LAUSD will handle all campus maintenance for the charter.
 This made me question, had the ICEF staff even read the agreement?

  One thought keep coming to me during the meeting, "What is this, amateur hour?" ICEF Vista staff were unprepared and lacked basic understanding about what they were getting in to. It was very disheartening to witness.  If this is what we are seeing before the co-location, what can we expect for next year?
   Last time we saw what a "Sak Fifth Avenue" charter school who didn't know the rules could do: escaped children; student stripped and hose on campus. What will ICEF, a "99 cents" charter do this year?