Saturday, August 29, 2015

ICEF Amateur Hour continues...ICEF tries to charge $800 to view public records

Honestly, I didn't think we'd have another ICEF Amateur Hour episode so soon, but here we are again.
ICEF Charter School bogus invoice to view public records
ICEF Charter School bogus invoice to view public records
    ICEF continues to play dumb about their responsibility under the California Public Records Act (PRA). On Thursday, ICEF responded to a PRA request with a invoice of $867.87 to just view these records. The fees included copying, redacting, reviewing the redactions, and even lunch breaks. ICEF's lawyer was cc'd on the invoice.
I had a great belly laugh when I saw the email. What fresh BS is this?

    Per the PRA, public records can be viewed upon request on location at no cost to the requester. Any work required to make these documents available must be taken on by the keeper of the records. This "invoice" is just another lame attempting to not comply with the law.
    After complaining about the legality of the invoice to ICEF CCO/CFO Greg Brendel , I was directed to speak with ICEF's legal counsel. I connected with the lawyer on Friday afternoon and we spoke for 23 minutes. It was exhilarating!
    ICEF's counsel offered to reduce the cost of access to the documents to $250. Absolutely not, I told him, I would not pay anything to see public records. This invoice was bogus and was even attempting to double charge for copying of records for redaction for public viewing.
    I have made many public records request since I started this blog, (the most notable and troublesome request involved getting copies of documents related to the CWC stripping and hosing a student on campus)  and this was the first time anyone tried to charge. The lawyer said he would get back to me next week.

    So, fellow Adventurers, tune in next week for the next episode where more amateur antics are sure to ensue.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

FLASHBACK - ICEF Amateur Hour preview: "Brown Act" violation

I should have known that I was in for a doozy of a co-location adventure when I first met ICEF CFO/CCO Greg Brendel in person.
   On February 18, 2015 a little before 5 PM, I was in the reception area of ICEF corporate headquarters waiting for the ICEF monthly board meeting to start. I wanted to use the public comment section of the meeting to alert the board to the Stoner and local communities' opposition to the co-location, and to ask them to please not co-locate at Stoner.
   As I was waiting, Mr. Brendel came out to greet me. He told me that, unfortunately, I would not be able to attend the meeting because I had not contacted the ICEF executive team with my concerns before the meeting.
   I was shocked!

   ...not attend the meeting?  Oh what a fool I was...Poor, poor me. ICEF has already won.
   ...none of those thoughts passed through my mind. I though "Is this guy serious?"  He must either be lying or very, very confused.

    ICEF board meetings pertain to the use of public funds and as such are subject to the Brown Act. The board meetings must be conducted as open public meetings.
   You don't need to announce that you will attend a public meeting.  Heck, anyone who just happened to walk by on the street and wanted to sit in the meeting for kicks would have every right to be in the meeting.
     So, trying to prevent me from attending a public meeting for any reason is a violation of the Brown Act.
     As for not contacting the executive team, well, a week before the meeting, I emailed all ICEF administration, including Mr Brendel, a complaint about the proposed co-location but never received a response.

     Regardless of his lame bluff, I told him I was attending the meeting and I would be speaking because it was an open public meeting subject to the Brown Act. I was allowed in the meeting and I spoke.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Argonaut: "Strife returns to Stoner Elementary"

The Argonaut ran a story about the protest against the ICEF Vista co-location at Stoner Elementary.

  I was happy this reporter came to cover the protest, but I was even more happy that he stayed after and saw first hand an incident were an ICEF Vista security guard intimidated a protester into deleting photos of the protest claiming that the photos might be "child pornography."   

You can read the story at:

"...pinche metiche Oaxaca!" - ICEF parent hurls ethnic slur at Stoner Mom helping elderly neighbor

Back in 2012, Oxnard School District banned the used of the epithet "Oaxaquita," but three years later, it looks like that epithet is still used freely by some parents of an LAUSD charter school, ICEF Vista.

ICEF Vista parent hurls ethnic slur "Oaxaca" at local resident
ICEF Vista parent hurls ethnic slur "Oaxaca" at local resident
    Yesterday morning, an elderly resident of Lindblade Place was upset and paniced that an ICEF Vista parent had parked their car blocking the  resident's driveway.  The resident needed to leave for an important doctor's appointment, but was blocked in. The resident saw her neighbor, who is a Stoner Elementary School mom, walking down the street and asked her for help.
   As they were talking, the ICEF parent returned holding a few ICEF uniforms in her arms. The Stoner mom reminded the ICEF parent to not park in front of the driveway. The ICEF parent responded "Whatever, pinche metiche Oaxaca!" before slamming her door and driving aggressively out of the cul de sac.
   This is not the first time a member of the ICEF Vista community has used this slur. At Monday's protest ICEF parents were also using this insult by mumbling under their breath or speaking out of the corner of their mouth. Yesterday was the first time this slur was aimed directly at someone.
"Oaxaca" as an ethnic slur
     Oaxaca is a Southern state in Mexico. A large portion of the population of the state are Native American, consisting of many differing tribes with a wide variety of dialects. Oaxacans are desendents of the Mixtec and Zapotec peoples.
     Using "Oaxaca" as an insult is essentially calling someone an "indio," a short, dark skin, stupid, uneducated, savage "Indian."   Both the Urban Dictionary and Yahoo! Answers have entries that explain how using "Oaxaca" as an insult is both a racial and ethnic slur.
    It's sad an disturbing that a member of the ICEF Vista community would use such a hateful slur against someone who was trying to help an elderly neighbor get to a doctor's appointment.
   We are asking ICEF Vista to speak to its community about not using hate language when interacting with the local neighborhood or Stoner ES community. Although, I fear that once this is brought up with the ICEF community, they might use this slur more once they hear how hurtful it is to the local community.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

LA School Report - ICEF Charter greeted with protest at co-location

ICEF Vista Charter greeted by protesters on first day of co-location at StonerLA School Report ran a story on the Stoner Elementary School protest against the co-location of ICEF Vista Charter at Stoner.

   ICEF declined to comment on the story. However, a California Charter School Association representative did comment and pushed the idea of a co-location as a "collaboration."
    Unfortunately, Stoner parents have already lived through a co-location and know first hand that a co-location only takes and gives nothing to the home school.  Stoner parent have been firm on their stance that they will not "collaborate" in this "theft" of resources from their children.

    You can read the entire story here:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ravitch blog double bump

Ravitch doulbe bump
I was pretty happy when this blog got a Ravitch bump last week.
     I couldn't have imaged that we'd get a second bump straight from Ms. Ravitch herself, nor that the bump would have been so huge. It makes the first bump look minuscule by comparison.
   This second bump helped spread the word about today's protest farther and wider than I could have hoped.
    The support and interest is humbling.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Stoner community to protest ICEF co-location on first day of school

ICEF Vista - no co-location at Stoner
No ICEF Vista co-location at Stoner Elementary
    The Stoner Elementary School community and local neighborhood community are mad about the co-location of ICEF Vista Charter school on the Stoner ES campus.

   The communities will be holding a protest on the first day of school to let the ICEF community know that we are opposed to the co-location. We will be encouraging the ICEF parents to consider other education options including their local public community school or a non-co-located charter.

WHAT: Stoner Elementary Community is holding a:

WHEN: Monday, August 17, 2015 at 7:30 – 8:30 AM

WHERE: on the corner of Stoner Avenue and Lindblade Street, 90230.

Monday, August 10, 2015

ICEF blowing smoke and starting fires

On Saturday, I noticed some surprising activity on the ICEF co-location section of campus that turned out to be disturbing activity.
   I was driving my family home when I noticed a gentleman by himself unlocking the morning drop off gate on Stoner Avenue, the one that had been put in place during the previous co-location.
     This gate was not supposed to be used as a regular entrance to campus but only for morning drop off. The co-located charter school's entrance is on Lindblade St. I was surprised by this and after dropping off my family, I walked by to check it out.
     As I approached, I saw a lady exit and enter and then the gentleman exit and re-entering.  I snapped picture. He didn't like it and said I needed to stop or he would call the police. I laughed and said he was on a public sidewalk. I asked if Ms. Buczek was on campus.  He said he didn't know who that was. I said she was the principal. He said he didn't work for the school and was just helping "her" as he pointed in the direction of the lady who reentered before him.
    The lady walked back and let me know Buczek was not on campus but said she would text her a message.
    This was disturbing. This man who was not affiliated with ICEF was not only on campus without ICEF administration but was in possession of the campus keys and could let himself on campus.
   What is going on on the ICEF side of campus?

    Sometime a little later that afternoon, my wife was driving by on the way to an errand. The gate was open.  She stopped the car to take a picture when the same gentleman from before walked up to the passenger side of the car where my children where and began blowing smoke in the car while telling my wife she could not take pictures and had to leave. She stopped taking pictures, switched to video and captured a few seconds before moving on to get away from the smoke.
    When she returned from her errand and recounted the incident, I couldn't help but remember the cigarette incident from the previous co-location.  That incident happened at the end of the school year, but tension are already running on hot and smoke is being blown.
     What's the old saying? Where there's smoke, there's fire...

The Ravitch blog bump

I noticed a significantly larger number of hits to the blog this past week. I thought with school starting soon people might be checking in, but these numbers didn't make sense. They were just too big.
    I checked the statistics and saw that that people where coming to here from:

    Wow, Adventures in Charter School Co-location got a Ravitch Blog bump! I was excited! What did she write?

    I searched the blog and was a little disappointed at first to find that it wasn't Diane who wrote about us, but that it was a comment in story that was creating all the traffic. But then again, it was pretty awesome to think that a comment on Diane's blog could create such interest.
    It's interesting to think of all the people I've never met who have been entertained and, hopefully, educated by these co-location adventures and it's humbling to think that some people have found this blog important enough to share with others.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Is ICEF violating co-location agreement?

Right now, ICEF Vista has volunteer parents cleaning up the Stoner Avenue Elementary School campus.While this might sound like a good thing, ICEF might be acting in violation of the co-location agreement with LAUSD and ICEF Vista Director Kristen Buczek should already knows this.
ICEF vista violates co-location agreement by having volunteer parent perform facilities duties
ICEF Vista Director Buczek having parents
perform facilities duties in violation of co-location contract
   At the June 5, Campus Co-location Committee meeting, Buczek specifically asked if she could have volunteer ICEF parents clean (i.e. perform facilities work) the campus.
   Ms. Buzcek was told that no she could not have parents volunteers perform facilities work since: 1) the co-location agreement clearly states that LAUSD is in charge of facilites on the entire campus including the charter's part of campus and 2) giving facilities work to volunteer parents would take away work from unionized LAUSD employees.
    However, today Ms Buzcek appeared to ignore the terms of the co-location agreement and the recommendation of the CCC and chose to use ICEF Vista parents to perform the work she was told they could not do.
ICEF Vista violated co-location agreement at Stoner Avenue Elementary
ICEF parent's truck parked on campus
 while parent performs facilities work
    Through the fence, I addressed Buzcek and asked what was going on. She said they were volunteer parents and "they are cleaning up..." before her words trailed off.
   I reminded her that she had already been told at the campus co-location committee meeting that parents could not perform facilities duties.  She quickly changed her tune and said that they were leaving and denied saying that they were cleaning.
   Fortunately, in the video I took of the interaction you can clearly hear her say "they are cleaning" and see her point to leaves on the ground. Plus, the parents are holding a broom, rake and trash can. One parent was later seen hauling trash bags full of pine needles.

   Wow, it appears that ICEF may be violating the terms of the co-location agreement.

Buckle your seatbelts and make sure your devices are full charged, this is going to be an awesome adventure in co-location!***

***post updated 9/4/2015 to remove potential defamatory language per cease and desist letter from ICEF's attorney.