The Los Angeles County Board of Education will conduct a public hearing today on a pro­posed charter school whose pet­i­tioners seek to open a countywide char­ter school with a boarding school program to be located near Lancaster.

The proposed  Future Is Now Prep­aratory charter school would serve students in sixth through 12th grade who are homeless, formerly homeless, foster youth, on probation and transient youth whose needs have not been met in more traditional single-dis­trict public schools, according to the petition.

The proposed charter school anticipates opening in the 2019-20 school year with 50 students in sixth grade and 75 students in ninth grade. The school would add a grade each year until the program is complete in the fifth year with 820 students in sixth through 12th grades.

The boarding school program would open in year four, ac­cord­ing to the petition. The pet­i­tioners also seek to open a second facility in the Central/South area of the county, based on current needs and community interest.

“We intend to locate these facilities in locations accessible to FIN Prep’s target population,” the petition said.

A previous petition for the pro­posed charter school cited the never-opened Saddleback El­em­en­tary School at 150th Street East as a possible location. The most recent petition says the pet­i­tioners seek to secure a tem­po­rary facility that will allow the pro­posed charter school to serve a projected enrollment of 300 stu­dents in a day program.

“FIN Prep intends to establish the temporary facility within or in close proximity to Lancaster, CA, in a location that is accessible and convenient for homeless, fos­ter, and other resilience youth,” the petition said.

That would presumably elim­in­ate the former Saddleback El­em­en­tary site. Also, since the cam­pus was sold and is now on pri­vate property the pet­i­tion­ers would need to secure a con­di­tion­al use permit from the Los Angeles County Regional Plan­ning Commission.

The Lake Los Angeles Rural Town Council sent a letter last Sep­tember to the county in op­po­sition to the  proposed char­ter school in part because there was no input solicited from the com­mu­nity.

The proposed FIN Prep char­ter school’s future facilities will in­clude a recreational/gym space, mul­ti­purpose room, spacious class­rooms, and office space for ad­ministrators, according to the petition.

The proposed boarding fac­il­ities shall include bedroom space, restrooms, and other liv­ing space necessary to support stu­dents who would live there.

Steve Barr, the founder and lead petitioner of the proposed Fu­ture Is Now Preparatory Ac­ad­emy, previously submitted a petition to the Los Angeles Coun­ty Office of Education last fall.

The L.A. County Board of Ed­u­­cation conducted a public hear­ing on the propose charter school on Sept. 11.  But the hearing was declared null and void after the L.A. County Office of Ed­u­ca­tion sent a formal notice to Barr about two weeks later to say the petition did not conform to the statuary requirements under the Charter Schools Act. Coun­ty officials cited improper no­tif­ications to the affected school districts in the Antelope Valley where the charter school proposed to operate.

The county sent a letter to Barr on Dec. 19 that stated “the FIN Prep petition does not meet the criteria specified to be con­sid­­ered a countywide charter school.”

According to the county’s letter the proposed FIN Prep charter school petition “fails to provide a reasonable justification for why it could not be established by a petition to a school district, nor that it offers instructional services that cannot be served as well by a charter school that operates in only one school district in the county … “

The proposal will be on the L.A, County Board of Education agen­da at 3 p.m. at the LA Coun­ty Office of Education Head­quar­ters, 9300 Imperial High­way in Downey.

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