Ramona Unified School District trustees have rejected a bid from an online charter school for kindergarten through 12th grade.
In an 18-page response to Global Tides Charter School’s petition, the district listed reasons for recommending that the school board deny the petition. Among them are that the charter school presented an unsound educational program with a curriculum inconsistent with California’s content standards, the proposal presented an unrealistic financial and operational plan, and the petition did not have the number of signatures required by state Education Code.
A charter school is publicly funded, has its own school board and operates independently from its sponsoring district, but the sponsoring district has oversight responsibilities.
Global Tides, created by Charter School Development Systems, plans to work with at-risk students who may drop out of school.
Marco Salazar, vice president of research and development for the charter school, asked Ramona school trustees at their November meeting to give conditional approval to the petition “with the understanding that we’ll rewrite the petition...to the board’s satisfaction.”
“I ask the board to look past what we’ve written,” said Salazar.
Proposals to open a Global Tides online charter school went to 91 school districts in 14 California counties in hopes of partnering with one district in each of the targeted counties, a Global Tides representative said in October. If the district were to sponsor the charter school, it would receive money for each student who joined the program from San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and Orange counties, even if no student from Ramona enrolled.
When Blaise Subbiondo of E-Teaching Assistance Program (eTAP) approached Charter School Development about his K-12 online program, “we thought it was a no-brainer to take his program and make it an online K-12 charter school, said Salazar. “We didn’t expect that in general that the districts of the state would spend so much time, money, energy in hiring attorneys and staff members to scrutinize our petition,” he said. “We honestly thought that, if the districts saw what we were trying to do and help an underserved community of students that are not showing up to class for whatever reason...that they would welcome us with open arms.”
“That was not a charter school,” Ramona school Trustee Bob Stoody said after the meeting. “...You can’t wrap your arms around a computer. I want the kids to have someone to go to.”