A Timeline of Clayton Valley's Charter Petition and a Look at What's Next

Over the last four months, Clayton Valley has been trying to convert itself into a charter school. Here's a look at what's happened so far and what's next.

It's understandable if you're a little confused on the current status of Clayton Valley's petition to become a charter school. Because, well, it's complicated.

To better understand the Clayton Valley charter petition and what might happen next, it's helpful to take a look back at the project's history.


June 9: After the Clayton Valley Charter Select Committee quickly put together the charter petition in less than three months, . Just 50 percent approval was needed for the petition to be submitted to the , but 80 percent signed on in favor.

June 22: The MDUSD announces it will .

Aug. 11: The charter effort received its most significant endorsement. Congressman George Miller, a 19-term Democrat who has been a leader on education issues in Washington, D.C., .

Sept. 13: Charter supporters packed into Monte Gardens Elementary School's multi-use room expecting to hear the MDUSD Board's final decision on the charter petition. . The board voted unanimously to approve the charter, but with conditions. The board asked the charter steering committee to meet a number of detailed conditions before it would grant full approval. The motion said the board would check to see if the conditions were met in February 2012.

Many charter supporters thought a conditional approval was worse than a denial. If the board rejected the petition, the decision could quickly be appealed to the Contra Costa Office of Education Board, . But a conditional approval kept the petition with the MDUSD, and charter supporters say they wouldn't have enough time to open the charter school for the 2012-13 school year if the district's board eventually rejects the charter in February.

Sept. 22: Charter supporters held a rally at Clayton Valley High and . They said it looked like the district would move the conditions deadline from February 2012 to Oct. 25.

Though meeting the conditions by the end of October will be difficult, if the petition is rejected, the select committee will have enough time to appeal district's decision.

Oct. 8: What appeared to be an improving relationship between the Clayton Valley Charter Select Committee and the district started to deteriorate.

On Friday, the MDUSD released which focused on what it believes will be the negative financial impact to the district if Clayton Valley High is converted to a charter school.

The select committee fired back, saying they were "shocked and disappointed" by the district's update and that it showed that the MDUSD is not willing to work together in good faith.

Adding to the tension was an on Monday, encouraging members of the Northgate community to speak out against the conversion because it would negatively effect his Walnut Creek high school.

Oct. 11: to rescind its Sept. 13 decision to approve the charter with conditions. Without a majority in favor, the motion failed, keeping the Febuary 2012 deadline in place. Board members Cheryl Hanson and Lynne Dennler voted to rescind, while Sherry Whitmarsh and Linda Mayo voted to uphold the original decision. Board President Gary Eberhart was absent.

Hansen requested that another vote on rescinding the Sept. 13 vote be made at the board's Oct. 25 meeting.

What's Next

Oct. 25: It's expected the school board will once again vote on rescinding its vote to approve the charter. Unless Whitmarsh and Mayo change their minds in the next two weeks, the deciding vote will be with board president Eberhart, who missed the Oct. 11 meeting.

If the Sept. 13 vote — which gave approval with conditions — is rescinded, then it is expected the school board will give the charter an up-or-down vote, rejecting the petition or approving it without conditions.

But if the Sept. 13 vote isn't rescinded — leaving the conditional approval for the charter in place — the Clayton Valley Charter Select Committee says it will take the district to court.

"We will take the approval with conditions as a de-facto denial," charter committee co-chair Neil McChesney said. "We will go to court and show the board's decision was illegal."

If the board rescinds its Sept. 13 decision but then rejects the petition, McChesney said they will appeal the decision to the Contra Costa Office of Education Board.

If the Contra Costa Office of Education also rejects the petition, then that decision can be appealed to the State Board of Education.

Confused yet?

Well, the least complicated outcome is also still on the table — that the MDUSD will rescind its Sept. 13 vote and then vote to approve Clayton Valley's petition without conditions. That would officially make Clayton Valley High the first public high school in Northern California to convert to a charter school.

Eric October 14, 2011 at 02:57 PM
What is the strategy now that the Charter Committee has announced that they have satisfied all 56 conditions? Will they be able to force a yes or no vote based on their compliance with the conditions?
Patrick Creaven October 14, 2011 at 07:02 PM
It's a good question Eric. I'm trying to get to the bottom of it.


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