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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