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Oxford Prep Coming to Barcelona Hills?

The Capistrano Unified School District plans to move the new charter school Oxford Preparatory Academy to Barcelona Hills Elementary. Barcelona Parents have protested the plan.

This story has been updated.

Staff at Capistrano Unified School District recommend bringing the charter school Oxford Preparatory Academy to Barcelona Hills Elementary, 23000 Via Santa Maria, this fall.

Oxford has agreed to bring fewer students to campus than they are allowed under their charter. The school had planned to teach 528 students on campus and another 100 through independent study.

CUSD staff estimates 359 students from the district will be enrolled at Oxford, said Spokesman Marcus Walton.

“Stunned, disbelief, anger, sadness, dismayed, slapped, wronged,” said parent Linda Shepard, reciting her litany of emotions at hearing the news. Shepard was one of the three parents who spoke out at an April 27 school board meeting.

Under staff's proposal, Oxford agrees to "waive any rights to challenge the District for not providing classrooms" for full approved attendance. It is unclear from the proposal how many students would be moved to Barcelona, but the move does allow Oxford's K-8 population to come to the campus.

Currently Barcelona serves students in grades K-5.

“Honestly it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said parent Kathleen Davies, who was surprised to learn that Oxford’s middle school will also be at Barcelona. “The thought that sixth- through eighth-graders will be at the same school as my first- and third-graders makes me a little nervous about next year.”

If staff's recommendation is approved, Oxford students will meet in classrooms 10-14, as well as portables 12-19 on the Barcelona campus.

The charter school would also have exclusive use of a conference room on the north side of the school. It would share the Barcelona multipurpose room and health office.

Furniture and equipment for the new school will cost the district an estimated $200,000. Oxford would pay the school district $29,500 for the facilities and another $25,000 for utilities under this proposal.

The proposal follows an April 17 announcement from CUSD Superintendent Joseph Farley, who then told parents of the proposal to move the charter school to Barcelona.

“As a parent, I feel as if my school, my child and all of the children of Barcelona Hills have been tossed aside to make room for a charter school that, according to Dr. Farley, the district ‘does not want,’ but ‘is required by law to make accommodations for,’ ” Shepard said, recounting words used at the April 17 PTA meeting.

Some Barcelona parents protested with hand-written signs outside the campus the Friday following Farley's announcement.

At that time CUSD Spokesman Marcus Walton said sharing the facility was "the best decision that can be made" given the state mandate to share facilities with charter schools.

The proposal will be voted on June 13 at 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

Capo Parent June 14, 2011 at 11:05 PM
I understand your frustration. As the noted comedian Ron White is found of saying, "you can't fix stupid!"
shelly June 15, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Capo Parent, Peace.
shelly June 15, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Capo Parent, "You continue to ignore reality and the simply fact that CUSD had better options as to where to place OPA, but chose not to explore them." I asked you the question because I wanted to know the better options that you stated CUSD had. How many kids would these better options displace?
Capo Parent June 15, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Shelly We won't know since CUSD conducted the whole process under a shroud of darkness. Schools that come to mind are Viejo and Crown Valley. Viejo is no longer a neighborhood school, it is a destination school that houses Spanish emersion. That program could have been moved to another site since most students at that school come from outside the Viejo neighborhood. And stop the faux complaining about students and familes being displaced. The 2 way program at Las Palmas displaced families. I didn't see that you boycotted Las Palmas as a sign of solidarity with the displaced families. Maybe that's because you really wanted your kids in the 2 way program and you got your wish. Ok for you, but not ok for the OPA families who just want a suitable site for their school. Double standard comes to mind.
shelly June 15, 2011 at 11:28 PM
Capo Parent, When I placed my children in Las Palmas no neighborhood children were displaced. Las Palmas became a full dual immersion school after my children were there. Children in my youngest childs grade are still accepted into Las Palmas because there is still an English Only class. My children are not displacing another child. And as I stated before I did protest the decision to the principal. The majority of Spanish Speaking children in the Las Palmas neighborhood still attend Las Palmas. Before Las Palmas offered dual immersion English Speaking families in the neighborhood used their school of choice option and went to Lobo or Concordia. How many students at Viejo and Crown Valley will be displaced? And why do you think an immersion school (that also holds a lottery to get in because people want the choice) should be moved in order to place a new charter school there? Is the charter school more worthy? Where are most of the kids from OPA coming from?

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