Filing error delays appeal hearing for charter school

CARLSBAD — Because staff misfiled its original charter appeal, OPA (Oxford Preparatory Academy) is restarting the process to appeal the Carlsbad Unified School District’s rejection of its petition to open a charter school in Carlsbad before the San Diego County Board of Education. 

“What we see in this petition, the appeal (to the county) did not contain the same information that was submitted to Carlsbad,” said Board of Education Chief Communications and Public Information Officer Music Watson.

OPA is required by California Education Code to submit the exact same charter petition to the board as was originally submitted to the Carlsbad School District in order for an appeal to be considered, said Watson.

OPA submitted additional API score and demographic data, while omitting other information that was initially in the petition, said Watson.

As a result, a public hearing that was scheduled for Feb. 13 before the board to receive OPA’s petition appeal was cancelled.

But OPA Executive Director Sue Roche claimed that only four pages of API score data from the charter’s appendix were missing from the board’s copies due to an accidental computer error while the charter was being copied.

“I don’t want it to be implied in any means that the entire charter was different. That is not true at all,” said Roche.

She said the page mix up was completely unintentional because the missing data further supports OPA’s position on a Carlsbad location.

“This material shows very clearly why we are needed and why we think we would be a great partner with Carlsbad,” said Roche, adding, “Absolutely we want that (material) to be seen.”

She said that OPA did add supplemental information about its schools and plans for Carlsbad in the appeal, separate from the charter petition copies, which is permitted in the charter appeal process.

OPA will be resubmitting its appeal to the board Feb. 19, which will allow for the public hearing to be rescheduled for March 13, according to Roche.

The CUSD denied OPA’s original petition on Dec. 5, stating that the petition did not meet half of the state Education Code’s requirements for charter schools.

OPA’s charter petition would establish a three-year charter school in Carlsbad for 800 to 1,000 students kindergarten through eighth grade starting in the fall for the 2013-14 school year.

The CUSD team that reviewed the charter petition stated that, contrary to OPA’s claims, the proposed charter school would have a disparate impact on underserved student populations. The team also brought up concerns about how OPA’s governing body would oversee a Carlsbad location.

OPA administrators have frequently claimed that the CUSD review team and board misrepresented its charter petition.

“I found it insulting,” said Roche about how CUSD representatives portrayed OPA’s petition at the Dec. 5 meeting. “I think that districts are afraid of what they do not know.”

She said that OPA is pursuing an appeal before the county because, “We (OPA staff and parents) want to have a chance to show some evidence instead why (the Board of Education) should be approving us.”



Filed Under: Rancho Santa Fe NewsThe Coast News


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  1. YetAnotherCarlsbadParent says:

    I read and article in the UT which suggested a bait and switch was happening, but they seem to have left out the other half of the story. This article gives a more balanced picture. I commented the other day that the State finds the program academically sound and also gives them high marks for diversity. The API scores the other two campuses are posting are impressive. I attended one of the parent info meetings Oxford held last week. They really do have solid data to back all their claims. I see no reason to deny local families access to this program within our school district. I hope they are approved.

  2. rootingforopa says:

    I am so happy to see the Executive Director speak out, it was horrible the way the CUSD treated them. The entire board meeting the district made them sit through was ridiculous the Carlsbad USD Superintendent Lovely, her “team”, and the Board should make a public apology to Oxford like the Capo School District did.

    Looking forward to the County Board Hearing!

  3. Shy Nalite says:

    Carlsbad USD will strongly regret not approving OPA if they are approved at the county or state level. If that happens, CUSD loses all opportunity for control or oversight. I find it comical that districts decide to claim prejudice against charter school enrollment practices when the districts themselves have disparate diversity across all district schools. Moreover, OPA has held public lotteries, including one that was televised live on their website. I’m guessing no Carlsbad representative has ever witnessed an OPA lottery to see how prejudiced they are.

    Capo Unified already tried accusing OPA of wrongdoing during their state testing, and that lie blew up in their face. It’s a matter of time before Carlsbad USD gets to wear the “egg on their face.”

  4. cassie says:

    CUSD’s opposition is unfounded. The only reason why they denied OPA is fear. CUSD fear’s OPA success and that the spotlight will shine on how poorly CUSD school, PacRim not included, are performing amongst similar schools ranking. As facts are emerging about OPA, Superintendent Lovely and her “team” is in panic mode. The fear of OPA’s success has caused CUSD to loose all of their credibility and integrity through lying to parents and giving false information during PTA meetings. Does CUSD hold a lottery for PacRim so everyone in Carlsbad have a chance to attend your best school even if we don’t live within the school boundaries??

  5. giveparentsachoice says:

    It’s just this sort of thing that wastes our tax dollars- we go round in round in circles for a technicality and in the end, our children suffer. The sooner we get OPA here, the better! Our kids deserve this school and we parents demand the choice!

  6. henry32 says:

    With all the research I have done one this school, it is beyond comprehension that Carlsbad District denied their petition. I do hope they, OPA, does prevail with county. A welcome choice to those of us who are sending our first child into kindergarten.

  7. dawn says:

    The tone of the article just shows how contentious these issues are. CUSD and other school districts need to start putting their constituents first… that would be students. Outstanding choices like OPA need to be embraced! Students of all backgrounds especially disadvantaged and disenfranchised families gain the most from innovative and effective Charters. OPA is at the top of their game and an undisputed leader in Charter School implementation and results; I welcome them to the Carlsbad Community!

  8. kurlanfam says:

    Good to hear that the director is speaking out about CUSD unjust denial. This school obviously is obviously strong, I am relieved to know that they have taken this petition to county. Looking forward to having them coming into Carlsbad.

  9. carlsbad parent says:

    CUSD’S denial was proper and just. They are not lying. Charters can be good programs. This one is not a bad one but IS NOT superior to district schools. API does not mean school does a poor job or amazing job of educating students. Pac Rim is not the only good school in Carlsbad as mentioned by someone in an earlier post. I know there are some parents who want this school, but there are that many more that don’t. Why does Sue Roche need to have a school in Carlsbad anyway? What is the benefit to those in charge of OPA? Why is expansion so important?

    • johnH says:

      1. If you consider lying and deceit proper and just. In the opinion of a large number of parents in Carlsbad, OPA is superior to district schools, yes even PacRim.

      2. No, API score does not mean a school does a poor job of educating students. However, similar school ranking shows 8 out of 10 CUSD school below standards. Look it up on

      3. Sue Roche does not need to have a school in Carlsbad, the students whose needs are not being met by CUSD schools need OPA. There is absolutely no benefit to those in charge of OPA, they are educators filling the needs, and demand of the Carlsbad parents. It might not be for you but there is a great need for OPA, regardless of your feelings.

      4. Again, it’s not about expansion, it’s about filling a need of the community. This need is for OPA as an option. OPA would not and could not have gone this far without having a strong support base and demand from parents of Carlsbad.

      5. CUSD is undeniably in panic mode as facts about OPA emerge. The tactics they used to denied the parents of a good option like OPA will be revealed and Superintendent Lovely knows this. CUSD was hoping that OPA would just go away and not appeal if they deny OPA based on emotions and not facts. Lovely and her “team” did not expect the demand for OPA to become greater and parents will be marching on to county along side with Sue Roche and the OPA team.

    • Shy Nalite says:

      CUSD’s denial was another misstep by a district doing everything in their power to prevent school choice. When you know your product is inferior to a competitor, one very common tactic is to engage in a smear campaign. This happens in politics all the time, and rest assured, public education is a political smorgasbord.

      An often-practiced tactic by districts attempting to smear the success of a charter is to criticize their student population, specifically, demographic makeup. What districts also do is spend quite a bit of resources telling their parent community about “all the bad things” the charter will bring to the community. These two tactics in combination are a very powerful force against charters because parents will typically believe their teachers because “Why would teachers lie?”

      However, the most interesting result of these tactics is the partnership formed between teachers unions and districts to keep the charters out. Therefore, it is incumbent upon parents to seek the truth, to find data to support statements and not just “trust”, and to use common sense to understand motive. When you take into account the enormous operating budget of a school district, money and politics are ever-present.

      The data shows that not a single CUSD school had a similar school ranking of higher than 9, 10 being best. In fact, 10 of 13 scored a 5 or less. OPA Chino Valley scored a 10 in its first year. This means that of 100 schools in the state that look just like OPA Chino, with the same challenges and demographic composition, OPA ranks in the top 10% of their group. Keep in mind their API last year was 972, while the OC school scored 993, the 2nd ranked K-8 in the entire state. If Carlsbad has such great schools, then why are 77% performing in the bottom half of their comparison school groups?

  10. Parent4Oxford says:

    CUSD denial was not just. Were they lying? Just not telling the truth, twisting or manipulation information to fit their agenda? Many of us believe the answer to all of those questions are, YES. It would have been “just” if they denied them on facts, we would accept a denial based on facts. We as parents who want them here know their program is better for OUR children. There is enough support in Carlsbad to justify their existence, that is one reason why they are here. Those in charge of Oxford for them personally what I have learned is they are dedicated to bring the best education to children, if you saw the work and dedication that they put in educating children and help us Carlsbad parents who want this option, you could do nothing but admire them. Taking API scores out of it they are able to educate special needs students and ESL students better and that is a fact, a good fact that helps children. They have a program that Mrs. Roche and the Oxford team has perfected over 30 years in education. We have a real problem in CUSD many students are leaving our schools, some schools API scores are going down, so instead of students leaving our schools and scores dropping let’s give parents an option. Bottom line is Mrs. Roche (Oxford) does not need a school here, we need a school here and we are thankful everyday they have promised to help us to the end. Please there are many many parents who want this option, please don’t try and block those of us who want it. I think we all want the best for our children and if you are happy at your school and their style of teaching and classroom management, programs they provide then that is wonderful. Education is not one size fits all most of us don’t fit the mold and our children are not thriving as they should be, despite how involved we are as parents. CUSD has problems and we need to address them let’s not stop those who may have a good solution to all of our problems big or small. Please to anyone who doubts that we need Oxford here go up and see one of their schools then make your decision. The atmosphere is calm, controlled, the children are respectful, have a sense of real pride being there, and there is more structure among the entire campus, the kids are really engaged and you can see it and feel it when you are there. My children need this and I am so thankful from the start Mrs. Roche listened to us Carlsbad parents and came to the same conclusion we did, there is a need for Oxford in the CUSD. Thanks to any parent who is getting involved, we may not all agree but we want the best for all children. Oxford is an option and this is a good option and can do no harm to anyone.

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