Dear Friends and Supporters, here is a recap and update on the North Bay Educational Foundation’s activities following the NUSD Board vote to deny the petition 7-0.
-NBEF has indicated they intend to move forward and submit another petition in 2013 for the opening of a school in 2014.
-The Charter review legal cost to NUSD was $50,000. Staff time and expenses were not calculated though we estimate the 9 member district review team spent considerable time in review. This was time that was not spent on issues for all of our children.
-NBEF has been attending and presenting their proposal at Elementary and Middle School PTA and ELAC meetings in NUSD as part of the “outreach” plan and student recruitment effort. They have made questionable claims about NBEF impact and intention including “attracting private school students to NBEF.”
-Concerned parents have been presenting the opposing argument to some PTA and ELAC groups.
-NBEF has held a few small fundraising events and a general meeting for “Accelerated English Learning”. Not one person attended the Spanish language session. Given the lack of any meaningful outreach to the Latino parent community by NBEF, this is not a surprise.
-We believe that NBEF efforts are in pursuit of vague ideals and a political ideology rather than an attempt to serve students with unmet needs. We share a common concern over the effects this school will have on school demographics and economic isolation. NBEF wants to control their enrollment process which has proven to filter in only the most capable and committed families.
-Novato should expect NBEF to run candidates for the NUSD School Board in November to push for approval. NBEF founder, Mary Jane Lonson has been thought to be running for a position.
-Save Our Novato Schools is not against Charter Schools, innovation, differentiated instruction nor do we “oppose choice.” We simply believe that the costs associated must be weighed against the proposed benefits. We believe educational and programmatic choices can be added to our existing schools without the prohibitive costs NBEF brings.
- With the pending school parcel tax expiration, bond and budget issues bearing down on NUSD, we believe NBEF should halt pursuing the opening of this school. Novato needs unity, not division. We encourage everyone to share your opinion with NBEF and ask that they stop forcing the goal of a separate school at the expense of our community.
Here is a brief email template suggestion to send to the NBEF leaders:
Dear NBEF, I support school choice, charter schools, and the closing of the achievement gap. I do not support an effort that will jeopardize the budget and stability of NUSD and the school(s) I have chosen to attend. NUSD has increased API scores for all sub groups for each of the last 5 years and ranks in the top 20% of CA schools. NUSD cannot afford another school site with the current budget and demographic projections. Please halt the effort to create a separate school that has garnered very little interest or support from the subgroups the Charter Law was designed to support.
NBEF Board- NorthBayEdu@gmail.com
**Please cc Charter@nusd.org
If you would like to include the individual NBEF leaders in the email too……
Mary Jane Lonson MJlonson@msn.com
Robert Verhoeff Robert.Verhoeff@bestcollateral.com
Tania Kelley Taniakelly@comcast.net
As a reminder:
-Save Our Novato Schools submitted a petition to NUSD with 1,100 signatures opposing the NBEF proposal. Slightly over 200 parents signed the NBEF petition as “meaningfully interested” in attending the charter school. A handful of parents signed both petitions.
If you would like to add to the list of concerns or feel issues have been overlooked, please bring them to us. These issues include, but are not limited to, Facilities cost, Teacher and Classified Staff layoffs, Socio-economic isolation, and NBEF qualification to run a school.
Thank You for your support and as always, feel free to forward this email.