After fighting Palm Lane Elementary School parents in court for more than two years to prevent the school’s conversion to charter status, the Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Education voted yesterday to comply with 2015 OC Superior Court ruling ordering them to accept the January 2015 Parent Trigger Law petition and proceed with the charter process.
Under the Parent Trigger Law, conversion into an independent public charter school entails soliciting proposals from potential charter operators and then selecting a bid. The selection will be made by parent signatories to the Parent Trigger Petition.
The AESD long-overdue acceptance of the will of the parents and the courts brings to an end the district’s opposition to the charter conversion – which was present from the beginning of the Parent Trigger petition drive. Since 2015, the Anaheim Elementary School District has been fighting an attempt by a group of primarily immigrant, working class Palm Lane school parents to convert their school in an independent charter school. The parents utilized the provisions of the state Parent Trigger Law by getting more than half the parents and guardians of Palm Lane students to sign a petition requesting conversion to charter school status.
The school district responded by sandbagging the signature verification process. The school board voted in February 2015 to rejecting the charter conversion petition in their own version of a kangaroo court. The parents sued and Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks ruled in July 2015 the petition had enough signatures and condemned the district‘s conduct of the petition process as “unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”
Undeterred, the progressive, union-dominated AESD school board voted to appeal the ruling to the state Court of Appeals. While the appellate court ruled decisively in favor of the parents in late April 2017, the district succeeded in delaying the charter conversion for two years. During those two years, the children of a number of the parents who signed the petition had already moved on the middle school.
Despite an emphatic appellate court defeat that birthed no hope of reversal on appeal, in May the AESD Board of Education voted to appeal to the state Supreme Court – which was denied earlier this month.
It’s abundantly clear the Anaheim Elementary School District leadership is waging a war of attrition against the Palm Lane parents in hopes of just grinding them down. Furthermore, the district is funding this war with taxpayer dollars – spending about a million dollars on litigation which school board members knew they were going to lose.
The district’s senior leadership even went to the creepy length of crashing a private meeting of the Palm Lane parents group held in the middle of a school day.
Daniel Bress, who represented the Palm Lane parents group pro bono, had this to say:
“The parents have now prevailed at every level of California’s court system. We look forward to finally seeing Palm Lane converted to a charter school”