Letters to the Editor

Unfair charter school laws threaten CUSD finances and Carlsbad quality of life 

The Carlsbad Unified Parent and Community Budget Task Force, a grass-roots, parent-led organization formed to educate the Carlsbad community about the ongoing budget crisis facing Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD), strongly believes that, because of the State’s charter school laws, which have an adverse financial affect on Basic Aid districts, the presence of a charter school within CUSD can negatively impact the high quality of K-12 education for which CUSD’s nine elementary, three middle and (soon) two high schools are widely known.

Lessening the quality of CUSD schools and threatening the corresponding academic achievements of its 11,000 students can have a detrimental effect on property values and the overall quality of life in Carlsbad.

We are not opposed to charter schools in principle or any charter in particular. But based on current State law, which we are lobbying Governor Brown to change, charters have a particularly negative financial effect on districts such as CUSD that are classified as Basic Aid districts, in which local property taxes equal or exceed a district’s revenue limit. In contrast, the State funds a Revenue Limit district on a per-pupil basis.

A charter school’s admissions can allow up to 50 percent of the student body to be from neighboring districts. It is not fiscally responsible for CUSD to pay for and educate these students. As a Basic Aid district, our monies should fund 100 percent of Carlsbad residents.

The County Office of Education is holding a public hearing March 18 re: an appeal of a denied petition for a charter in CUSD. My Task Force colleagues and I encourage Carlsbad taxpayers to get informed and involved at carlsbadunified.com.

Claudine Jones

Co-Chair, Carlsbad Unified Parent and Community Budget Task Force

Carlsbad

 

Fate of the Buena Vista Creek Valley

Help determine what the fate of the Buena Vista Creek Valley will be. Come take a mini-tour of the Buena Vista Creek Ecological Reserve March 16 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the west end of Haymar near College and state Route 78 (turn at Mossy Nissan go to end of Haymar Road.) Located behind Kohl’s/Walmart shopping center, the land in and near the reclaimed quarry is in Carlsbad and zoned for less than 300 homes but the developer wants 656. Carlsbad elementary schools near the site are full — leaving parents to drive during rush hour to other schools. Unacceptable traffic impacts to College Boulevard. Is all this profiteering really necessary? Contact Mayor Matt Hall and the Carlsbad City Council at (760) 434-2820 or email council@carlsbadca.gov and ask them to scale it back to 506 units, or better yet buy the entire parcel, ranked No. 1 citywide by Carlsbad’s own handpicked Open Space Committee.

If you live in Oceanside contact your city council at council@ci.oceanside.ca.us (or call (760) 435-3065) and ask them why they are asking for nothing but cash in exchange for a project that seriously impacts Oceanside traffic and lengthens your response times — since your fire and paramedics are the closest they will be providing emergency services for this monstrosity.

Call (760) 720-5220 for more information on the mini-tour.

Kasey Cinciarelli,

Carlsbad

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  1. Marilynn Gallagher says:

    Claudine,

    Your continuous efforts to convince Carlsbadians not to support a Charter school because the ” presence of a charter school within CUSD can negatively impact the high quality of K-12 education ” has little merit. You have recenlty added that the quality of life for Carlsbadians may ultimately suffer. All because a proven Charter School comes in? When does the negativity end?

    For your argument to be valid, it must also consider the following:

    1. How much money per student (since students are funded by their attendence in the district ) has CUSD already lost to High Tech High, Pheonix Charter, Tri City Christion, ST Johns, St Pats, Pacific Ridge, Encinitas Country Day and Home Schooling from kids who have moved from CUSD to these alternatives?
    2.How much money per student will CUSD lose in the near future from parents who will decide to pull their kids from CUSD Schools and send them to choices that do not fund our school district?
    I live in a beautiful Carlsbad Neighborhood. Within 2 blocks of my house I can count 7 families (out of 11) with school age children who do not attend (and have pulled their kids from) Carlsbad Public Schools.

    The Charter can be the solution, not the problem.

    Lets stop the exodus of kids from Carlsbad Schools. Lets start by giving parents an option similar to what they are seeking in these Private Schools and neighboring Districts. Please Carlsbadians, do your research. The scores dont lie. Go Oxford Preparatory Academy! Go Champions!

  2. Claudine says:

    Marilyn, as an employee of CUSD it seems you would know:
    1. CUSD is not a revenue limit district and therefore does not receive money per pupil based on attendance. CUSD is Basic Aid – we receive money based on property tax collection rates.
    2. Attendance at CUSD has gone up 6% since 2005-06.
    3. If our district had the arbitrarily set Fair Share cuts restored, which are state imposed swipes of
    property tax revenues from students who are residents of Carlsbad (similar to what a charter school would do because we are Basic Aid) we would have the resources our kids deserve. However, despite the cuts, despite the increased enrollment – our API scores continue to climb. Which is why we (heart) our schools and continue to fight for more revenue, not more schools.

    • The Other Grass Roots Group says:

      CUSD is Broken Lets FIx it with Crazy Glue Not a Band-Aid.

      Let me first tell you what the Band-Aid is, it is raising property taxes taking out bonds, threats that your children will be in a classroom of 40 students, teachers will loose jobs unless we borrow more and take more NOW, then we can pay it back in so many years when this lousy economy turns around and our children will figure out a way as adults to pay this money back, not our problem now as long as we borrow and take more. But in the meantime lets just borrow more and say that it will make a difference we get relief for a quick minute then the chaos begins again. To use Crazy Glue is to actually to make a change not just throw money at it but to make a fix in education with smart radical changes that will not put us in more debt and leave us with a problem we have to address 1, 5,10 15 years from now.

      Carlsbad at one point in time offered a high quality education we used to have all sorts of wonderful programs at the elementary level. Now those programs have been cut and unless the funds come from out side of the schools budget you don’t get them. My children have a science on “special occasion”, they do not have a music teacher or music room in their school, they don’t have foreign language and I can go on and on. But what they have is continual cuts to their quality of education continual threat of changes, CUSD is is dire straights and even though all these props have been passed it still did not help, they told you it would but now they tell you it won’t.

      Oxford and good Charter Schools provide a better less expensive option in education that we can have for our children. Also there is noway a charter school will open and take 50% or even close to that of out of district students. The fact is the charter wants to come in and help the students in Carlsbad not hurt the budget and be in a community that they are looked upon negatively. What will happen if the charter school comes it will run on less Carlsbad tax payers dollars, offer all of the programs that Carlsbad can’t due to their budget and really reach the ESL and Special Needs children that Carlsbad has not been able to help achieve their full potential. Two groups single handedly trying to keep out a school that has such high API scores compared to Carlsbad and offers programs on a weekly bases verses maybe twice a year or on special occasions. Why is Iheart and the PSAC and some PTA members against that?

      The State completely supports Oxford and so do other local politicians who as we speak are writing up legislation to help more communities whether they are ADA or BA have charters. To hide behind the fact that we are a Basic AId district does not matter, no matter what the facts are and the financial evidence Oxford has put on the table you will ignore them. Financially this is just the same as if I wanted my child to go from Calaveria Elementary to Pacific RIm since Pacific RIm I believe is a better school for my child. This is the same case if a child moves from Pointsettia to Oxford, so with Oxford as an option at least parents are not leaving the community and district completely. Many of us are not happy with what Gov. Brown is trying to do with his redistribution of education funds to even the playing field, but charter schools are not the problem.

      The district tried to make it appear that there is no interest in Oxford by their intimidating phone calls leading us to believe that if we said yes we would send our children to Oxford then there would be no room for our children the upcoming year since they have to plan for our child not to be there. That scare tactic worked when you see the results the district says they got when they called parents who signed the interest form. I support Oxford and went out into the community to gather support, I even said no since the school was not opened yet. Many parents took the risk of saying yes but when the numbers came out from the district office they were not counted. Some who said yes where told by their principal they had no idea how that happened. I want people to know that we are honest parents who support Oxford looking to make a good difference despite how the truth is being spun.

      I watched the video yesterday of a few people trying to say how the signatures were gathered it was truly insulting to anyone who volunteered their time to reach out the the community and anyone who signed the form. To say that anyone was intimidated into signing the form and it was said to the County Board that is parents did not sign the the form they could not pass by to take their children to school is horrible. Also there were always Spanish forms and there are many signed by Spanish speaking parents. To say that Hispanic people signed forms they could not read is insulting to them, you can see all the forms if you would like in Spanish. To say Dr. Beam ever would say the finance people were out for 4 months is ridiculous, makes no sense and never happened how would a school run with having a financial office to talk to or be working on the financial end. If you want to see the positive budget they have ask, you will see no red only black numbers on the pages unlike CUSD. Oxford has a reserve, our district is so far in debt there is no way out.

      CUSD Budget is prediction and unless everyone moves here we will pay more property taxes they never will be able to pay back the debt they are in. They are counting on more Mello Roos so if you plan to buy a new house in Carlsbad look for those high Mello Roos fees, that is what they are praying for. Most of us are paying Mello Roos and it is outrages to see how that money is spent and many of us are moving to get out from under the Mello Roos and high taxes we are paying in Carlsbad. Oxford has zero debt, so it is possible to run within your means and a budget. want. Seeing how my taxes have been raised I pay Mello Roos and I agreed to pay that when I bought my house and that was OK for the first two years of living here but now it is not OK. If we were getting a high quality education I would not be here but my children are not getting what we are paying for. The facts are facts spin them anyway you want to fit your agenda but when another grass roots Carlsbad parent group personally attack our grass roots group who want Oxford and our integrity you have gone too far as was implied at the hearing yesterday.

      Maybe those who oppose Oxford should have gone to the Charter Convention last week if you really wanted to learn the truth and see what progress is being made in education, yes I used the word progress and education in the same sentence. You may choose to throw more money at our education crisis here in CUSD, which when CUSD says they can’t pay the bills next year I would call that a crisis. This is despite props, bonds, higher taxes, and all the Mello Roos we all pay. You have to look at other options and I want my children educated with structure from one classroom to the next, a methodology that all the teachers use and the students understand, less expensive and teachers and students are not constantly looking around the corner to see what they need to dodge next and have a school built on stable ground not quick sand.

      If you want to see change and positive change look at other states and when change happens and most of it is being open to good charter schools, you see not districts but states change. Our state is at the very bottom, Sacramento sees that and we need to make changes to public education. Like I said do some research on positive change and see what you conclude but real research not what CUSD wants you to believe.

      Not charter schools are good I agree with that and the CCSA is making strides to fix that. Oxford is not one of those schools, and to have Oxford here that is a real choice not moving form one Elementary to another within CUSD or pay for private school those are NOT options and although they can be considered a choice. The real choice we want to be able to make it that we want a different type of education for our children, a choice as to how we want our children educated and what programs they can participate in.

      Another argument made is that the volunteer hours are endless and what if a family has working parents and can’t do their hours of volunteer time. The fact is that is is 20 hours per year per family. Those families who can not do that, then I will do it for them along with hundreds of other parents.

      Also the district is where Buena VIsta fate lies it is in their hands, not Oxford. Every Oxford supporter does not want to close down BV, if they are happy they should stay happy. Lovely gave her speech yesterday and made sure to point out several times that BV is what Oxford specifically wants, she is saying that for a reason to keep BV parents worked up and it is working to her credit. A campus with easy access from the freeway would be nice since student who attend Oxford will come from all over Carlsbad. But nowhere was BV specifically mentioned, but BV parents do need to realize that this is not a battle with Oxford but with the many Carlsbad residence, if I remember right Iheart Carlsbad group was a large part of trying to close down BV last year. So now the focus has shifted from the community that wanted it closed to specifically Oxford.

      All we as supporters of Oxford would like is that Iheart Carlsbad group, PSAC, and some PTA members do not get up and make statements that begin with” Carlsbad residences” or “I was told” or “we don’t need this because”, please do not try to speak for me and what many of us Carlsbad parents believe and want. This is same example as there are many teachers who do not appreciate the CUTA Pres. getting up and saying she speaks for all the teachers in the CUSD, she doesn’t but sadly out of fear and yes FEAR many good teachers can’t speak up. We as parents could not say yes we want to know about or have the option of going to Oxford, or our children may not have a place in their school the following year since they were not “planned” on attending the next year. This is all FEAR and 99.95 of us have learned that the hard way.

      If need be this will go to State that is how dedicated we are as parents and the level of commitment we have from Oxford. Our district needs to change and not just its pocket book this is one of the great solutions that is available to us. PLEASE do not believe that there is no interest, that there will be a high number of out of district students who will take our Carlsbad students money, we are good people who have dedicated endless hours to helping solve Carlsbad problems in education. We work in our children’s current schools continuing to help daily. But we want to stop putting Band-Aids over the problem and find a solution that will hold up for many years to come and have a positive impact on the schools and city.

      In this process what has been unfair is that we as people of this community have been bullied into paying higher taxes through fear and guilt. To say charter school laws are unfair in not a fair statement. What is unfair is that my children can not have the best education possible and they lack programs in their education that used to be there and now I can not afford to supplement it for them. All of this opposition is because we live in a Basic Aid DIstrict? If I was rich I would pay for the school I want, if I was poor I would be in a ADA district so no one would not oppose this education for my kids but since I am in a middle class community I am stuck. How is that fair? I am sure someone will come back and say move, and yes that is an option that if Oxford doesn’t happen then we will. But we will not be moving alone or take our children out of the district alone for many families in Carlsbad this is our reality. And for CUSD and those who oppose change they are chasing people literally out of town.

      My response to Ms. Jones:
      When my children move from their school to Oxford then they take their share of the BA pie, why when the opposition tries to explain it they want people to believe they are taking other students money away?? Then those are Carlsbad students transferring to another campus in district, so yes Oxford will get the funds just like the other schools for the Carlsbad students. Once again my example of moving from Calaveria to Aviara, no difference all in district. And 2006 was was 6-7 years ago where is your current data if you want to pull out facts about enrollment. I know of one 5th grade class at one elementary school that if you look at that class alone it lost two students to home school since the parents were so unhappy, now that is one classroom at one school, how many other are out there like that? Also not all schools went up in their API, and none have score no where near Oxford, so those are the quick and easy understandable facts. Oxford runs it budget and school on the here and now not on the hopes that the city will grow, higher taxes, more Mello Roos. Then put the debt solving problem on our children. Let’s just hope our students got a great education to solve this mess the CUSD and groups that do not want to make really changes have left for them.

  3. Corinne says:

    Claudia, THANK YOU!!! People are so used to schools getting their money through ADI, they assume that is the only way…that being proven by the first comment.
    As a former teacher at a charter school, here in North County, I would not send my daughter to one. They have FAR TOO MUCH freedom.
    I love our Carlsbad schools. Are they perfect? Heck no, but what or who is? The teachers and staff work so hard and I’m proud to say “I LOVE OUR CARLSBAD SCHOOLS”!!!!!! I have my daughter proudly at Jefferson, NOT our home school, it is our school of choice.,.which we have in Carlsbad and we have great schools to pick from!!!

  4. Marilynn Gallagher says:

    Hi Claudine,

    I applaud and respect your knowledge of funding for CUSD schools. Personally, your point about funding and tax base further confirms why I would like the opportunity to choose Oxford Preparatory Academy for my kids.

    To me, the amount of money available per student is not as relative as how a school or a school district spends that money.
    Claudine, You know better then most that each year the PTAs and CEF contribute millions of donated funds to our schools to augment the state funds and keep WEEKLY enrichment programs in place. There is a negative prevalent urgency with this continuous fundraising. I should know, I have been one of the major catalysts for it at my childrens school.

    IN CUSD (to me) the issue is not the funding, it is the spending and the implementation of programs (or lack of) that has created a need for a charter school.

    Oxford offers many Programs (art music Pe Science) on a daily basis with the money they get per student. And with API scores that are up to 200 points higher then CUSD schools it is clear that their spending is done prudently and conscientiously, with results in mind.

    As for enrollment in CUSD,you quote a 6% increase in enrollment since 2006 yet the population of Carlsbad has increased by 22% in that same period of time. The facts speak for themselves in my neighborhood and others in Carlsbad. There is clearly a place for Oxford Preparatory Academy. Why not look at the positive impact it could have on our district. Take a tour and see for yourself!

    sincerely,

    marilynn Gallagher

  5. parents for oxford says:

    claudia,

    why did you change your organizations name again? At one point you called yourself “Friends of buena vista,” last month it was “Carlbad Unified,” with a disclaimer from the school district, and now it is the Carlsbad unified parent and community budget task force?Do you have an Identity crisis?
    At first you did not want Oxford because they might close BV, Next, it was because you did not think they would cover every demographic, now it is because Carlsbad schools arent getting enough money from the state. Which is it Claudia?

    Maybe the next one will be the truth.

    That Carlsbad is scared of having a school in its midst that can engage children, spend money wisely, and get great test scores.

    Carlsbad go to http://www.oxfordchampions.com, look around. and see what you are missing.

  6. Lucky parents says:

    So sad to see Carlsbad teachers fighting against the district to keep Sage Creek from opening. (and vice versa) So sad to see the district fighting against this Oxford Charter Charter too, I THANK GOD we have money and we can afford to send our kids to Pacific Ridge.

    I feel sorry for those left behind!

  7. Maria s. says:

    I was one of those parents wwho were called by the school distrit about Oxford Charter school. becuase I signed the interst sheet. My principle called me told me he had to know if we were going to go to our school next year. and if i really meant it when I signed it. I toldhim I did not know at that time, but that I was inerested in the new school for sure. He told me if I signed up for th new school, my kids may not be allowed to return if it did not work out.

    It scared me to be very honest with you. I hope this charter school is approved It looks good to us.

  8. Vicki says:

    I’m a parent of children at Buena Vista Elementary in Carlsbad. I am not speaking for anyone but myself as a parent, and I’m not hiding behind any “groups” or fake names. I’m also not saying that my children go to a school that doesn’t exist (Pacific Ridge?). I am PROUD of our neighborhood school, our API scores speak for themselves. I have not been involved in any of the prior conversations, and I’m not aware that anyone else from our school has, frankly, some of these comments are so bizarre that they are hard to beleive. Yes, our students are almost 40 to a classroom, and PTA and CEF do fund a lot of our programs, but my kids go to Music class every week, have science, art, PE and technology lessons, and are thriving in school. We have a large, successful special needs preschool whose population (full of medically fragile students) would be displaced if OPA was to take over our school, AS WOULD ALL OF OUR STUDENTS. I don’t have a lot of time to research this stuff, but I’m pretty sure that ALL of Carlsbad schools are NOT funded per pupil by the state, like many of our neighboring districts are, and that our kids educations ARE funded by property tax dollars, which everyone knows are not what they used to be due to the housing market crash. Yes, CUSD is scraping by, but If a charter school comes in and takes over a school, IT’S STILL GOING TO BE FUNDED BY CARLSBAD CITIZENS TAX DOLLARS, BUT MAY NOT BE FULL OF CARLSBAD KIDS. My children deserve to go to OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL. I agree wholeheartedly with Claudine’s letter to the editor, and I don’t get where all of this nastiness if coming from. My understanding is that a charter school will be filled BY A LOTTERY, and that my child IS NOT GUARANTEED TO GET IN, NOR WILL THEIR SIBLINGS IF THEY ARE “LUCKY” ENOUGH TO GET DRAWN IN THE LOTTERY. I’m sure that one of you will correct me if I’m wrong in that understanding….Am I?

    • SaraL says:

      I beleive the poster Lucky Parents is referring to Pacific Ridge private school: http://www.pacificridge.org/

      • Vicki says:

        Thanks for informing me Sarah L. I should have known it was a private school since they thanked God for giving them the money for it :)

    • TeriandbradF says:

      LOL!!!!! Folks, this is a parent who lives in Carlsbad and claimed to be informed enough to oppose Oxford, yet this individual is not even aware the Pacific Ridge exists in our city. I rest my case on those opposing Oxford.

      • Vicki says:

        I did not realize that there was a private 7-12 grade school in Carlsbad, you are right. My children are not Middle School aged, and private schools won’t be affected by OPA anyway, so I’m not sure why that poster even mentioned it. I also said I was (and still am) only speaking for myself as a parnet, not as a part of any group. I don’t know what “case” you are resting Teri and Brad F, I don’t see anything else that you have posted.

    • Kassie McM says:

      LOL!!!!! Folks, this is a parent who lives in Carlsbad and claimed to be informed enough to oppose Oxford, yet this individual is not even aware the Pacific Ridge exists in our city. I rest my case on those opposing Oxford.

      Can’t oppose on emotions, get your facts and be informed before you speak to prevent the appearance of ignorance Vicki, Tida, and Julie. I am a BV parent, and I do support Oxford. The fate of BV campus is inevitable, just accept it already!

      • Vicki says:

        Kassie McM, I’m not sure why you start your post with the EXACT same words “LOL Folks….” as Teri and Brad F, or why you are making reference to people that haven’t even posted on here. Like I wrote before, what “case” are you “resting?” I have never “spoken” anywhere on this issue, only written a reply to an article. I don’t know what inside information you think you have that makes you say that the fate of our campus is inevitable, that sounds ignorant to me. I’m not trying to put anyone down or be mean, just support my school district and my neighborhood school. My kids are happy and thriving at BV, and have been for many years, and that is a FACT.

        • Karen Woodward says:

          Vicki,
          I do sympathize with you and the parents of BV. I understand that why everyone at BV is upset that you all might have to relocate. And why shouldn’t you be upset. While the other campuses are serving over 500-700 students, BV has 286 students (not including another 20 preschoolers) on their campus. This seems fair to the rest of the students in Carlsbad right.

          I support Oxford for it’s academic success, I support their approach on educating students, I support options, I SUPPORT OXFORD PREPARATORY IN CARLSBAD.

          • Vicki says:

            Karen, BV has over 300 elementary school students and around 100 preschoolers. I’m not sure the exact number, but I’m pretty sure that we are around the same enrollment as Kelly and Magnolia. Like I stated before, I’m just a parent, but I do know that the numbers that you just quoted are wrong. Thanks for being nice too, some of these people are just plain mean. I sure wish that all of the passion that is displayed here would be put toward volunteering at all of our schools to make them a better place. If every parent were to volunteer 20 hours (as OPA REQUIRES) just think how great ALL of our schools would be. The boundaries are NOT enforced in the district, so parents are free to send their kids to any elementary school they wish. I don’t get why people are saying that the district is “forcing” them to keep their kids in a school they don’t like, just transfer them to another school. I happen to love our 2012 California Distinguished School! Long Live BV!!

  9. SaraL says:

    I attended one of Oxford’s parent information nights. As I understand it, the district and Oxford would negotiate a way to weight the lottery to favor in-district students. If my notes are correct, they could even do it at a 5 to 1 ratio. If that is the case doubt the district would agree to 50% out of district students. I also thought they said they were looking at renting a private space and not using district facilities?

    For what it is worth: I have two children in the district. One, I think is doing fine at our neighborhood school. The other, I think would benefit from attending Oxford. The philosphy looks like it will be great for kids who just don’t “fit” the typical classroom setting. I don’t see that particular approach being taken consistantly at any of our other schools. I would put my son’s name in the lottery if it were to be approved in Carlsbad. I hope they are approved.

  10. Stacy G says:

    Thank you for lobbying to get the laws surrounding the funding of charter schools changed – or at least shine a light on how they affect the districts and students. In my many years with children in the district, figuring out how our schools are funded, and all the budget challenges is very confusing.

    All parents want the best education and choices for their child, its sad that because of the way the state funds education it forces districts, charters and parents to fight with each other. I understand the OPA parents desire for choice, I just wish it wasn’t at the cost of all the other CUSD students. Bringing in a charter school to CUSD is not revenue or budget neutral for our residents. I’d love to see some of the passion and hours spent fighting with CUSD put to use helping to change the way charters are funded through the state.

    Carlsbad does have world class schools but like everyone in the state/nation the budget crisis has hit us all. Sadly our state/nations spending priorities are not on education. I will continue to advocate that no negative changes be made to the funding for my child’s public education.

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