As a conflicted pro-school choice member of the teacher’s union, I attended the AVHSD School Board meeting last week on the possible re-establishment of Guidance Charter through the AVUHSD.
Our newly elected Board made this one of its first orders of business, despite the same Board recently rejecting it. The elephant in the room was the $30 million bond debt owed by
Guidance for its new East Palmdale facility.
I watched as Guidance Charter’s Kamal Alkhatib unveiled a slide presentation. The left slides seemed to represent all the previously flawed programs and poor oversight, while the right showed the planned improvements. It was an admission of fault and a plea for another chance. This must have been music to the ears of Palmdale School District lawyers. Well- meaning parents supporting Guidance based arguments on the notion that everyone deserves a second chance.
A young woman then talked about an unrelated charter near Sylmar. Finally, the Guidance principal spoke very briefly and nearly incoherently, wrapping up a presentation that fluctuated between confusing and embarrassing. Those against Guidance shared personal anecdotes of students grade levels behind where they should be. They reminded the Board this appeal has been recently rejected at the local, county and state level.
I don’t know what the School Board has beyond what I heard on Dec. 20, but short of a major revelation, it would be a scandal for our local Board to approve Guidance Charter after its previous rejections by the Palmdale School District, AVHSD, Los Angeles County Board of Education and the California Board of Education. I am no anticharter teacher. Good charter schools can play a role in improving our product, but with all the chips on the table, Guidance Charter offered little reason why it should get that vaunted second chance. K. Mahady Palmdale