Green Valley Charter School officials have given the Los Banos Unified School District an ultimatum: hold a hearing on the school’s charter renewal or face legal action.
The school district’s legal counsel was reviewing the letter Thursday, Board President Anthony Parreira said.
In the letter, Green Valley Principal Andrew Meza gave the district until 5 p.m. Friday to hold a public hearing on the charter school’s renewal, which should be scheduled on or before May 24.
It Green Valley doesn’t receive written confirmation of the public hearing by the deadline, the charter school will file a writ with Merced County Superior Court to force the district to recognize automatic renewal, or hold a public hearing on the renewal.
“The District’s steadfast refusal to follow its legal obligation ... and take action on GVC’s revised renewal charter petition has resulted in confusion and frustration for Charter School parents, wasted public resources, and materially harmed students,” the letter states.
“We just want the opportunity to state our case for the (Los Banos) school board members to vote,” Meza told the Enterprise on Thursday.
The letter is the latest and most demanding action taken in the 5-year-old Waldorf education-inspired school’s ongoing struggle for a charter renewal.
Green Valley’s initial petition for renewal was denied by the school district board in February due to concerns about low comparative test scores, questions regarding the school’s educational plan, and an endorsement of denial by the California Charter School Association, an advocacy group for charter schools in the state.
After the denial, Green Valley officials revised their educational plan and sent a new petition to the school district.
But Parreira declined to put a public hearing on the new petition on the school district board’s agenda on the advice by the district’s legal counsel. The district said Green Valley’s next statutory step to pursue renewal was to appeal to the Merced County Board of Education.
While Green Valley unsuccessfully pursued that option, the school’s officials and legal representation continued asking for a new public hearing in Los Banos because it claimed the school district board had a legal obligation to hear a new petition.
On April 26, Green Valley officials claimed the 60-day time frame for the school district to hold a hearing on the second petition expired, leading to an automatic charter renewal.
The school district a day later rejected the claim. The response stated that the school district fulfilled its responsibility to the state education code by holding a hearing on the first petition.
“All of our actions were a result of following the education code and following advice from legal counsel,” Parreira said.
Green Valley also is seeking charter renewal through the state Department of Education after the Merced County Board of Education denied its appeal last month.
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562