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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 7:39 am | Fair 44º


District Recommending Conditional Approval for Santa Barbara Charter School

The Board of Education will discuss the petition Tuesday, with the administration identifying four issues requiring 'immediate remediation'

The Santa Barbara Unified School District administration has serious concerns with Santa Barbara Charter School and is recommending that the petition to renew its charter be approved with major conditions.

Board of Education members are also worried about the school’s low test scores and lack of diversity, but parents and teachers have praised the school’s smaller classes and supportive environment.

The K-8 school is located on the Goleta Valley Junior High School campus at 6100 Stow Canyon Road in Goleta and just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

In a report to the district board, administrative staff found four major issues that need “immediate remediation” if the charter is renewed.

Emilio Handall, assistant superintendent of elementary education, wrote that the district should have the school create a three-year Professional Learning Plan, Common Core State Standards Transition Plan, schoolwide educational program plan, financial projections and plans to reflect the general district population’s racial and ethnic balance within five years.

There are specific Education Code requirements for charter schools and Santa Barbara Charter’s educational program “is not likely to demonstrate future success,” Handall wrote.

Achievement scores are lower based on comparisons to similar schools and traditional Santa Barbara Unified schools, and there is a lack of student diversity with 70.5 percent white students, 18 percent Latino students and 11.5 percent other students.

The district also believes the school has financial issues and will go into the red starting in 2014-15.

The charter petition is not consistent with sound educational practice and doesn’t have a description of measurable pupil outcomes or achieving more diversity, according to the report.

School officials have said test scores aren’t a fair way to assess achievement at a progressive school, so the Board of Education asked for other proof of success. Of 97 high school students who attended Santa Barbara Charter, 44 percent are in Advanced Placement courses, 56 percent are in honors courses and they have a median weighted total grade point average of 3.36.

The Santa Barbara school board is scheduled to discuss the charter petition at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the district office at 720 Santa Barbara St., followed by a decision expected in November.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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