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Charter Supporters Angry After Being Left Off MDUSD's Board Agenda

Charter supporters are frustrated that the MDUSD board is not planning on making a final decision on the charter petition at Tuesday's meeting.

At this point, even if the petition to convert into a charter school is rejected by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District board, charter supporters don't really care.

They just want a vote. But, as of Friday afternoon, it doesn't look like they're going to get it. At least not yet.

In an email to Clayton Mayor David Shuey on Friday, Superintendent Steven Lawrence said the board will not vote on the petition at its meeting Tuesday.

Lawrence cited a lack of time for the district's chief financial officer to analyize the fiscal numbers behind the charter as the reason the petition will not be placed on the agenda.

(Note: The petition has been placed on the agenda as an information item, not an action item.)

Shuey wasn't happy to hear the news. In a 659-word email response to the superintendent, Shuey emphasized the community support behind the project and that he believes the district has had plenty of time to digest the charter's financial data.

"Do the right thing and put this item on the agenda," Shuey wrote. "As Neil McChesney (the charter select committe's co-chair) and we have stated repeatedly, as you obviously are doing everything in your power to prevent and deny this petition, put this on your agenda and deny it if we have not met your approval. Do not continue these bad faith delay tactics."

McChesney also responded to the district's decision in an email.

"This is unacceptable and not acting in good faith," McChesney said. "We have been strung along with financials since April."

There were reasons to believe a final vote on the charter would happen on Tuesday.

At its last meeting on Oct. 11, boardmember Cheryl Hanson asked for the petition to be placed on the Oct. 25 agenda. Then, on Oct. 13, charter supporters announced they believed they the MDUSD board placed on the charter petition .

McChesney has said in the past that if a final decision on the charter was not made by Oct. 25, charter supporters would take the district to court to argue that the board's Sept 15 decision, , was a 'de-facto denial' and can be appealed.

The reason why charter supporters see a denial from the MDUSD board as much more desired outcome than no decision at all, is they believe they could receive full approval on appeal. If the MDUSD board say no, then they can go to the Contra Costa Office of Education and if they say "no" they can appeal again to the state Board of Education.

Charter supporters say time is of the essence because they want Clayton Valley to open as a charter school for the 2012-13 school year.

McChesney did not immediately return a call for comment on this story. Superintendent Steven Lawerence's office was also reached for this story, but a message was not immediately returned.

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