Green Valley Charter School officials are fighting to keep the school open for the 2017-18 school year.
The Los Banos Unified School District board’s governing board last Thursday voted 4-3 not to renew Green Valley’s charter. Board members Dennis Areias, Margaret Benton, Gary Munoz and Anthony Parreira made up the majority vote. Trustees Megan Goin-Soares, Ray Martinez and Marlene Smith voted against rejecting the renewal.
The vote came after a California Charter Schools Association representative recommended the board not renew the charter, citing low test scores.
Andrew Meza, Green Valley’s principal, said he hopes the board will reconsider the decision or that an appeal can be made to the Merced County Office of Education by next week.
“We’re looking at all the options and what direction we want the school to go in,” he said.
Many parents and staff members attended the meeting last week to show their support for Green Valley, Meza said.
“Obviously, our school is very disappointed with the decision not to approve our petition for renewal,” he said. “We’re still very hopeful that whatever path we take we can get the support to continue our school. We’re not done with this fight. We may be down, but we’re not out.”
Parreira said he did not come to his decision quickly or lightly to reject the renewal petition.
“It was a very difficult decision for all of us – to vote based on facts or feelings,” he said. “I know that the students love their school and love their teachers. You get that with any town, no matter where you are.”
Parreira said low student achievement and lack of a correction plan made up his mind.
“I didn’t hear a plan for improvement or how to get out of the situation,” he said. “That point was missing for me.”
Goin-Soares, who supported renewing the charter, said she didn’t believe shutting a school down was the correct way to address issues.
“It’s still a new school,” she said. “I think they could use more time to prove their viability.”
Green Valley, which serves about 200 students from transitional kindergarten to seventh grade and employs 30 people, received its charter in 2011.
According to CCSA data, Green Valley scored in the bottom 3 percent on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium results, fell overall by 28.5 points from 2015 to 2016, and scored lower on a “Similar Students Measure” compared with students in the Los Banos school district.
Paula Chavez, who has sent her children to Green Valley since it opened, said her daughters have flourished there.
“Green Valley Charter School is the best fit for many children in Los Banos. Our children deserve the alternative,” she said.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477