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Oxford Prep Expansion Plan Bashed by CUSD Staff

The charter school wants more students, but district officials say the proposal is flawed.

A charter school wants to grow, but Capo Unified staffers oppose the idea, saying the campus has failed to explain how it would pay for the expansion.

, the charter school sharing a campus with , wants to expand its enrollment by about 150 students. It also wants to change how often its board meets and what its board members are called.

But Capistrano Unified School District staffers don't think Oxford leaders have explained how their school can accommodate the new students. And they say the board changes might reduce parental involvement and create conflicts of interest.

The report also notes the district would lose tax revenue. Expanding the school would "result in a loss of enrollment from additional students leaving District schools to attend Oxford Preparatory Academy," it said. (School districts receive money for each enrolled student.)

The school's requests "do not provide information explaining how ... a larger program could operate in the same way as the existing program without changes to other aspects of operation (i.e. personnel and finance)," the district report says.

The report also criticizes Oxford for not including a revised budget for the district's consideration.

Also, says the staff report, the five months Oxford has been in place have "not been without significant incidents." In that time, more than 100 Barcelona parents . Also, the district to resolve problems between the two schools.

Staff writer Penny Arévalo helped with this report.

ConcernedParent January 20, 2012 at 11:07 PM
After reading Marcus Walton’s staff report I have to say that it’s refreshing to see that Journey and Community Roots actually lease their space. It’s a nice change of pace to see a charter school actually making an effort to be a good neighbor. I have a quick question I’m hoping someone can answer for me: If Oxford is asking for 772 students at an estimated $5,100 per student (ADA), they are looking to receive nearly $4,000,000.00. After paying their staff, it seems to me there should be PLENTY of finances available to afford to lease their facilities. Since they DO NOT pay a dime for their space, where does all that money go? Has anyone noticed what kind of car Sue Roach drives? Maybe a Bentley? Who knew education was so lucrative. And I always thought it was supposed to be about the kids.
Capo Parent January 20, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Shelly Wrong. OPA was entitled to house its entire school at one site though CUSD wanted to to assign OPA to two different sites (how asinine). That's why CUSD eventually put OPA at BH. OPA voluntarily reduced its enrollees to play nice and show good faith to CUSD. Big mistake on OPA's part. Moral of the story, don't trust or believe CUSD.
Capo Parent January 20, 2012 at 11:26 PM
ConcernedParent With CUSD it's all about the money. If a charter school pays rent (even though it is entitled by law to a free facility since it is a public school) then it is a "good" neighbor. As for your ADA calculations, did you happen to take off the top the cut CUSD takes? Also, have you priced the costs of the programs, equipment, technology, etc. that OPA is providing? I didn't think so, because that would be too logical and reasonable. Jealousy is a terrible thing. By the way, what kind of car does Farley drive? I know teachers in CUSD who drive new and fairly new Mercedes Benz, so what's your point? Does that somehow make the teachers "bad" persons? Like CUSD, you're fixated on the money the kids bring in, not the kids. No big surprise.
ConcernedParent January 21, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Capo Parent. Well, I think we know where your kids go to school. Pull your head out. Did you not see that I was asking a question about where the money went? That's why my 2nd paragraph started with, "I have a quick question..." Seems like you're a little sensitive. Don't project your flaws as a underwhelming member of the community onto me. So why don't you tell me about CUSD's cut and what the programs, equipment and technology costs Oxford? I want to be in the know, like you. Why are you so literal? I could care less what kind of car the Roach drives. It was a rhetorical question. My point is that the Roach and company are profitting from exploiting the system. And in doing so, they are hurting the kids and ruining a Blue Ribbon school that has been a part of its neighborhood for generations. And to answer your question, no it doesn't make a teacher a bad person for having nice wheels. Getting what they want with no regard for kids makes Oxford bad people. Someone has to be fixated on what Oxford is doing. They turned education into a money game. It's pathetic, but this is where we are. We SHOULD be focused on teaching and learning but now we have to wonder about things like why this "fantastic" charter school has our non-charter kids practicing music in a teacher's lounge. You are oblivious if you can't see a problem with squeezing a Blue Ribbon school out of existence.
Capo Parent January 21, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Concerned Parent As for where my kids go to school, you have no clue, hence why you are clueless. As for pulling my head out, I suggest you follow your own advice since it appears you have not seen the light of day or reality for some time. Your comments about Roach and company proffiting from exploiting the system sounds like something straight from Karl Marx. Under your warped view, then the CUSD administration and its unions must be profitting from exploiting the system. If you want to find what CUSD's cut is and what programs, etc. OPA is providing, get off your lazy brain and go find out the information for yourself. I have no desire to educate you. Your claim that OPA is "ruining" a Blue Ribbon school, i.e. BH is laughable. BH received its Blue Ribbon in the 1990's. BH has been on life support for the last several years. Its enrollment and API scores have been dropping, and it has been ignored by CUSD for years. You convienently forget that CUSD created the dual use of BH, not OPA. But hey, when did you ever let facts get in the way of the web of fiction you are trying to weave. Your disdain and contempt for OPA is obvious, though irrational. I hope you get over your issues. If you like, I can get you an OPA shirt to help with your OPA issues. :) Meanwhile, OPA will continue to move forward, providing a unique and wonderful education experience for its students. Instead of obsessing over OPA, work to make the schools your kids attend better.
Peter Schelden (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Folks, I know schools are a hot topic, and this one especially. But please don't name-call on the site. Further name-calling will be deleted.
Jennifer January 21, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I am not ashamed to say that my kids go to OPA - no secret, nor should it be. It has been a wonderful experience so far. As a parent, I will say that 95% of the issues I've had with anything that has gone on with the school has to do with logistical issues (aka, the site we were assigned, and sharing it with the school that was already there). OPA is based on a foundation of respect - for oneself and for others. And I have personally known Sue Roche for more than 15 years. She always has had the strongest work ethic and the highest regard for providing her students with an excellent education, and that is why she (along with others) started OPA after decades working in public schools - to provide our CHILDREN with the best education she knew how to give, which she apparently couldn't do within a public school setting. I have no first-hand experience of negative experiences with the BH families or staff, but I know others who have. Sadly, I hear only what "bad" things the BH people do, but I am sure some OPA parents aren't perfect. But really - what does all this bad behavior teach our children?!?
Jennifer January 21, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Part 2 - Please know, BH families, and all other CUSD residents who seem to hate OPA - those of us who put our children there (we were blessed to get in, a lottery of over 1100 for 400+ spaces!!), did so because we liked what the program had to offer, and because we are proponents of school choice. Not to disenfranchise anyone, not to criticize anyone - just to have our children's education happen under what we viewed as the best possible circumstances. That we ended up sharing a campus was the District's doing, not ours. Let's all be adults, get over the venom that comes with this anonymous forum, and discuss real issues.
Capo Parent January 21, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Jennifer Well said. Unfortunately, your words will go unheeded by CUSD. That's why CUSD is willing to take $20,000 out of classrooms in CUSD for a mediator to deal with the problem CUSD created. It's kind of like Pontius Pilatus washing his hands of Jesus.
Jennifer January 21, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I hope the mediator is at least neutral - not biased against OPA from the start, because of being a district hire. I haven't had time to go to any of the meetings - helloooo, three kids 6 and under and a hubby working very hard for us (read: not home often, so I can't get out sans kids often)! But some of the great extracurricular opportunities that OPA offers had been offered to BH kids, in case some people didn't know that - or would have been, if the District hadn't disallowed it (that's what I've been told, anyways), and I am not sure how many people know that... And let's hope that $20,000 is money well-spent - to increase actual understanding between these feuding families. Ugh, a turf war right here where my kids go to school. Blech! Do I really have to quote Rodney King?
shelly January 21, 2012 at 11:53 PM
capo parent, Why was OPA was entitled to house its entire school at one site when there was not one space available to house it? What do you advice? Really, I am not being sarcastic or anything. I would just like to know what others suggest when there were not open campuses in CUSD.
Oside Dad January 22, 2012 at 03:25 AM
We are trying to get Oxford Prep in Oceanside. We've been homeschooling our children for the last 3 years because our school choices are increasingly inadequate. Bad administrators, bad teachers, just plain bad, and Oxford Prep seems like a great opportunity. Rather than fear the competition charter schools like Oxford Prep brings, they should relish the opportunity to step up and perform. Instead they do everything they can to keep them out. In an era where everyone gets a trophy just for participating, it seems like school districts would rather not even play the game. Don't worry about the $20K. It's probably going to come from the teacher's union...which gives you an indication of how mediation might turn out.
if you think Oxford shouldn't be inhabiting Barcelona Hills, or any other public school, sign this petition. It is greatly appreciated. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/barcelonahillsokayopanoway/
Jennifer January 22, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Well OK then - at Oxford Prep all day this Monday, you can come and sign the petition to show your interest in our school. Please come and sign, if you want your kids to have the opportunity for an excellent education OF YOUR CHOICE, not just what the government provides via their monopoly on tax-funded education.
Oside Dad January 22, 2012 at 05:38 AM
It's not the state's money. It's paid to them by the hard working people who live in this state and earn an income. I think not only parents, but all of those tax payers, are getting fed up with school districts continuing to fund mediocre and ineffective schools. It's time we start getting what we pay for, which includes a choice for charter schools. They make education better.
shelly January 22, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Jennifer, CUSD provides school of choice at good schools with great teachers. It also has some good charter schools. I am happy that you have a choice to attend Oxford Prep. That's great. But many parents have made THEIR CHOICE (really no need to shout) to attend non charter schools in CUSD and that should be okay. Charter schools are tax-funded government education also. a person against...charter schools, Charter schools provide more choices for parents. Journey, Roots, Oxford, etc. should be welcome as alternative choices. They are not for everybody but neither are traditional schools.
Jennifer January 22, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Not shouting, but can't underline/bold here, and wanted to emphasize this. I fully understand that most CUSD schools and teachers are wonderful, but not all. I have examples of friends whose kids are having issues at Capo schools, but those aren't necessary. No one wants to remove anyone's choices, nothing is going to be a good fit for everyone. But from my vantage point, it appears that there is a contingent dedicated to the destruction of OPA, as opposed to OPA most definitely not wanting to displace or destroy any other school. CUSD approved the OPA charter, their job is to work with Sue Roche and others to find a campus that is suitable for everyone involved. All this other vitriol (not what I think of you, shelley, just in general) comes from the district's inability to do that properly in the first place.
Hadley January 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
The idea that charters are "using STATE money" is incorrect. Average Daily Attendance (ADA) dollars is revenue paid through your property taxes. Parents that choose a charter or even an intra-district transfer are exercising their right to put THEIR OWN TAX MONEY TO THE MOST EFFECTIVE USE. THE MONEY FOLLOWS THE CHILD. It is not "state" money. The state itself does not build, service or sell any goods to produce revenue. The state taxes the citizens and WE work to create this revenue. The state and districts have long held the power to make choices for parents regarding where and how their children are to earn their education. All citizens pay, regardless if they have school age children or not. You pay your taxes to your county, it is calculated in Sacramento, then the state funnels it back down to local school districts in categorical funding to run their programs. Charter schools actually receive fewer dollars per ADA (child) than traditional public schools. I am not clear on what happens to the difference. I do not know if it is retained by the state or if goes to the district. It certainly does not come pack to the taxpayer. Parents that opt for private schools continue to pay their property taxes, extra school bond measures and their tuition. I would like to understand WHERE their unclaimed ADA goes? Don't call it state money. It is your money. Your child's money and when quality charters are present, parents are empowered which choice.
shelly January 22, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Jennifer, What do you want the district to do? There is no open campus in CUSD. I keep hearing the blame but what exactly did everyone expect the district to do if there was not one empty campus? What should they have done in the first place? Do you believe that CUSD should move out children from an existing school for OPA? You may not feel this way but some OPA parents do. Please read some of the older blogs. Many parents who are happy at their existing school fear the idea of OPA because they are afraid OPA will move in and they will be kicked out of their campus. Is this fair to the students and parents at the existing school? It also would be best if people didn't generalize and "bash" CUSD schools in order to make their option and choice seem better. I know you are not doing this but others are. Individual experiences should not be generalized to the whole district. There is good and bad to everything. I have many examples of parents who students are have had no issues with CUSD. You write, "I fully understand that most CUSD schools and teachers are wonderful, but not all." Which CUSD schools are not? I am not trying to be antagonistic. I am just curious of what schools would be classified this way and what the measurement is?
Jennifer January 22, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Well, I can only speak as to friends who were so excited about OPA because they weren't thrilled with their home school, and open enrollment to other schools either presented logistical difficulties or some other issue. I would have been perfectly happy with our home school, and even happier with the school closer to our home where we got in on open enrollment...perfectly happy, had I not learned about OPA. And if we leave OPA for some reason, I am sure we'll be just fine at our home school. But the issues I hear about from other parents happen at "good" schools which have a different philosophy than OPA - it seems that not every school or teacher is as child-centered as OPA seems to be, when it comes to problem-solving regarding children whose needs may not be the same as every other child's...and I am not talking about special-needs kids. As for where to put OPA...I don't have an answer. The charter was accepted in the spring, and it went to the last weeks of the summer before a site was agreed upon. I am in now way saying that an existing school should be closed, but I also know that some schools in CUSD have had declining enrollment and were on the chopping block, so to speak, before recent, alternate decisions were made.
shelly January 23, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Jennifer, What school was on the chopping block for 2011/2012? Can you point me to this information? CUSD had no open sites when the charter was accepted so what exactly should the district have done? I hear a lot of blame for the district because OPA and BH are sharing a campus but where should OPA have been placed when there was not an open site? Besides sharing the only alternative would have been to move an existing school. Should the district have done this? If you think not then what should the district have done? I think the district should have dealt with the animosity between the two schools way before now. If people are not getting along and unable to share then problem solving skills should have been taught to the parents, teachers and administrators at both schools until an alternative solution arises. Children learn from the actions of their parents and the adults around them. What a truly great teaching moment this could have been for the children at both schools to see their parents co-exist peacefully.
OC Mom January 23, 2012 at 06:04 AM
They are asking for 144 more students at $44 a day ADA money that works out to $1,108,800 for 175 instruction days. It is painfully obvious that the district doesn't want to lose this money. OPA will spend it wisely and those 144 students would greatly benefit if they were given the opportunity to attend OPA. Come on CUSD School Board members do the right thing and allow 144 more students and their parents choice in education. We are taxpayers and the money we pay should follow our kids.
Capo Parent January 23, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Shelly CUSD has needed to close schools for years, examples include BH and Vista, irrespective of the existence of OPA. This is now more true than ever given the declining enrollments across CUSD. Take a look at the drop in enrollment at a number of schools, e.g. Tesoro down to around 2400, and SJHHS can't even get to 2000. Through the "grapevine" I have heard that BH is only asking for six classrooms for next year. If true, then this proves my point about BH. As for you questioning the statement that not all CUSD schools are wonderful, statistically, that is not possible. As for naming the not wonderful schools, what's the point? For starters, look at what schools have not reached the mandated API scores and are on performance plans.
shelly January 23, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Capo Parent, API does not tell the whole story. If you are going to judge schools on API look at the make up of a school. The schools with the highest API's have parents with a higher education level and parents in a higher income bracket. They do not have a high population of ESL kids in fact the percentage of ESL at these schools is low. When you are learning a language it takes time. Testing a kid who speaks Korean, Russian, Spanish etc. in English and only English when they do not speak it and then dinging the school or teachers for low test scores is ridiculous and defies logic. Many of these schools with lower API's are wonderful. I should know because my children have attended one. My children were challenged and nutured. I don't rely on a test to tell me the story. So why weren't they closed? Are the needs of other parents greater than the needs of the parents at the neighborhood schools that you say were due for closer? Maybe the declining enrollment is partially caused by some BH parents feeling pushed out of their school and feeling that the hostile environment is not good for their children so they are moving to other schools. And I am not saying that OPA parents are the only ones creating the hostile environment.
AllPro Dad January 23, 2012 at 11:10 PM
How long should an under-enrolled school remain open before the district closes it? There comes a point when the hard choice has to be made. The reality is that there are several schools in CUSD that have declining enrollment and these hard choices have to be made. Saddleback made the choice and closed some really good schools. I understand the love of your neighborhood school, but the question you need to ask yourself is why did the district choose your school over all of the other schools in the district to share a campus? You had the space and it gives the District a villain to point to when they do decide to close the school. They get to plead that they had no choice, the big bad Charter school forced our hand. Well played district, well played.
shelly January 24, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Allpro Dad, Why does the district need a villian? Sounds a bit paranoid. Charter schools have co-existed with other schools peacefully in this district and a charter school moved into a closed campus. And to everyone why all the blame on the district for the way parents have chosen to behave to one another. People make a choice to be rude to one another. No one can force you. You make a choice.
Capo Parent January 24, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Shelly You're right, API does not tell the whole story, yet CUSD sure likes to brag about high API scores when it is in its best interest to do so. My comments about schools closing is based on primarily on the declining enrollment CUSD is facing district wide, the low enrollment at several schools, and CUSD's need to cut roughly $27 million even if the tax cuts are passed. As I understand the facts, BH has asked for 6 classrooms next year. Assuming 32 students a class, this will come out to 192 students, In addition to 6 teachers there will be adminstration staff and a principal. The cost will be (based on what I have been told, but have not verified) approximately $ 1 million dollars. Leaving aside emotions, attending neighborhood schools, etc., keeping schools open with enrollments of roughly 200 students makes no economic sense. Unfortunately, CUSD is refusing to make the necessary, but tough decisions to close schools. This is worsening an already dire financial situation.
Capo Parent January 24, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Shelly CUSD needs a villian because that's its MO. It is pretty sad that CUSD is paying up to $20,000 for a person outside of CUSD to try and solve a problem CUSD created, but evidently cannot resolve.
V. Duvall January 25, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Capo Parent, FYI Mercedes Benz vehicles start at $30,000. for the lower end NEW cars and go up from there. Most New Ford, Four Wheel Drive SUV's start closer to $40,000. Everyone and his brother drives one of those. Have you ever noticed that most of the kids at the High Schools drive better cars than the staff? My Dodge cost almost $40K with all the bells and whistles. WHO CARES what anyone drives? It never ceases to amaze me when people start whining about who has what and I don't. That's so off point. Jeez....
SARA January 26, 2012 at 07:10 AM
Did you know that OPA has had more than it's fair share of parents who came to OPA because of the promises made and who have since left because of all the promises broken? My children who currently attend OPA have had a number of their class mates leave and return to their former schools. When i question the parents, they say they are very disappointed in what OPA has delivered versus what was promised and they lost faith. Does OPA disclose this? No, it doesn't. They have lost many kids of high caliber and this blaring deficiency is a well-kept secret.

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