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Answers about AIMS summer school

By awoodall
Friday, June 7th, 2013 at 3:09 pm in charter schools, Uncategorized.

As you probably already know, AIMS got a reprieve yesterday that will at least keep the schools operating during the summer session while the controversial board fights OUSD’s decision to yank its charter. Jim Mordecai, who many followers know from OUSD board of education meetings, noted:

The FCMAT audit found problems with the summer program called SAIL. SAIL was a private summer school offered by Dr. Chavis’ company and a conflict of interest according to the audit report. For new students it was mandatory and thus violation of the California Constitution. Instructors were not paid a salary but paid with scholarships.

Will the SAIL program be part of the summer school? Is there a new summer school or has there been both public and private summer school in the past?

Good questions. Here are the answers from AIMS staff.

1. SAIL program is not being offered this year during the summer session. Instructors who work during the summer session are being paid at their regular pay rate.

2. In the past, there has/have been both public and private summer school. 

The Alameda County Board of Education is set to decide whether to uphold the revocation on June 25. That should be a lively meeting.

 

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  • Jim Mordecai

    What is not clear regarding the report on AIM summer schools from the AIMS staff is whether or not the information communicated to parents indicated that summer school was “mandatory”. The FCMAT report said that with the exception of students being retained, summer school could not comply with the Education Code and be made mandatory.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Peach

    The Special Education reports are fairly comprehensive, with numerous suggestions (in the appendices) for corrective action. Most of the recommendations are in the areas of compliance and organization and it is understood that these are urgently needed, as OUSD functions stay in crisis mode.

    The recommendations for actual curriculum and instructiion are few and sketchy. Given that students’ education should be the focus, one would hope that meaningful articulation, implementation, and monitoring of classroom instruction and ancillary services will be fully addressed going forward. Collaboration and differentiation of the district’s academic programs and those of the Program for Exceptional Children should be the standard.

    Engagement with students, parents, and educators/support personnel (as well as with site administration) by district leadership and administration might facilitate overall program improvement – all for the benefit of students.

  • Stacey Smith

    Mark and All,
    The new education reporter on the Oakland beat is Doug Oakley and his email is doakley@bayareanewsgroup.com
    I submitted a blog about this report but the managing editor was out of town. I suggest if you are interested in seeing a post about this report, the budget, unknown cuts to the program, and next steps you contact Mr. Oakley and ask him to post something. There is something afoot – I tried to analyze the budget numbers and they just don’t add up. At a minimum I think teachers should be asking about staffing and whether or not the district includes additional positions in this budget to even intend to comply with the MOU about caseloads while filling the positions that have been empty for most of the year. I don’t see that — or subs — or a whole bunch of things once you get down to where the money is supposed to go….
    Stacey

  • http://www.calcharters.org/blog/2013/06/support-for-recommendation-to-uphold-revocation-of-aims-charter.html Jed Wallace

    Support for Recommendation to Uphold Revocation of AIMS’ Charter
    Editor, Oakland Tribune:
    I am writing to support the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) leadership in its recommendation to uphold the revocation of the American Indian Model Schools (AIMS) charters.

    While AIMS has a tremendous track record of academic success, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and ACOE are acting appropriately in revoking the schools’ charters. In this situation, academic performance is not enough to overlook the mismanagement of public funds and the unwillingness of the AIMS board to satisfactorily address the legitimate concerns raised by OUSD.

    We are concerned for the students, families and employees of AIMS who bear the impact of this decision. Should revocation be upheld, CCSA will continue to help families find high quality enrollment alternatives for their students and help ensure that more high quality, responsibly governed charter schools are available in Oakland.

    We appreciate ACOE’s thoughtful leadership in this difficult situation.

    Jed Wallace
    President and CEO
    California Charter Schools Association (CCSA)

  • http://hotmail Mark

    Thanks Stacey,

    You are the best!

    You care about all children and the adults too.

    I will e mail the new editor. The dam internet is

    killing off all the newspapers.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Excerpt from Alameda Board of Education staff regarding supporting or opposing appeal of OUSD revoking American Indian Model Charter schools three charters:

    (B) There is Substantial Evidence that AIMS Failed to Refute or Remedy the Violation.

    AIMS’s contention that there were no violations of conflict of interest laws by Dr. Chavis is inadequate because it does not rebut the substantial evidence that Dr. Chavis did violate the Political Reform Act.

    Furthermore, AIMS does not address the need for AIMS to adopt procedures that will ensure compliance with the Political Reform Act. In its answer brief, AIMS states,
    “[t]o be clear, it is not a violation of law for a person affiliated with a charter school to lease facilities to said charter school as long as the person’s financial interest is clearly disclosed and approved by the board.” (Exhibit B: AIMS Appeal to the ACOE, Written Statement Number 7, Tab 7 p. 3.)

    AIMS also states that, “[a]ll rental and construction
    agreements were reviewed and approved by the [AIMS] Board.” (Ibid.) AIMS misstates the laws applicable to its officials and employees, and inadequately describes what an AIMS official must do to avoid a conflict of interest. AIMS’s argument that simple disclosure of one’s financial interest sanitizes the types of conflicts of interests alleged by OUSD appears to be grounded in Corporations Code statutes concerning non-profit entities. However, Dr. Chavis is alleged to have committed violations of the Political Reform Act which imposes different restrictions than the Corporations Code.

    As discussed above, Dr. Chavis violated the Political Reform Act by influencing AIMS into contracting with his
    companies. It is irrelevant that the contracts were reviewed by the Board, or that Dr. Chavis gave AIMS a favorable rental rate, or that AIMS has separated itself from Dr. Chavis, or that Dr. Chavis has not been criminally prosecuted for his actions.
    (Exhibit B: AIMS Appeal to the ACOE, Written Statement Number 7, Tab 7 pp. 3-4.)

    None of these statements address whether Dr. Chavis had a conflict of interest, whether AIMS appropriately dealt with these conflict of interest issues, or what AIMS would do to prevent such conflicts in the future. AIMS’s response demonstrates a lack of understanding about what is required by the Political Reform Act.

    The County Board of Education is voting on whether to support its staff report on rejecting AIMS appeal tonight.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Anonymous

    As a recent but now former employee of AIMS, I can say with 100% certainty that the founder, his wife, and his good friends who comprise the AIMS board have intentionally failed to make the very easy to make changes asked of them by OUSD. Rather than replace board members with ties to the founder, hire a third party finance agency to oversee management of the schools, and cut ties with the founder himself, they have fired all staff who have askedmformthese changes, forbidden staff to communicate with the press, threatened and harassed staff who express dissenting opinions, and hire incompetent administrators like Ruben Ruiz (please look him up!) to enforce corrupt policies in the schools. The few legitimate and hardworking staff members who remain are facing increased class sizes (upwards of 37) despite the school’s charter stating that AIMS student to teacher ratios are 25:1.

    Yes, this school has lucked out with teachers who are committed to excellence. Test scores (which are only a fraction of what one should look at when evaluating school success as a whole) are only high because their hardworking teachers have found a way to create incredible learning environments for their students DESPITE the illegal activities of the powers that be. All but four or five of their teachers have resigned in the last few weeks (and not sooner because the teachers wanted to see their students through to the end of the year).

    These schools should absolutely close, and the county should request that a judge freeze the school’s accounts so the the founder and his operatives on the AIMS school board cannot drain what is left of the school’s resources (a reported million dollars still in the bank).

  • Jim Mordecai

    Revocation of the AIMS charters was upheld tonight.

    Jim Mordecai

  • J.R.

    It seems like people need to take a hard look at public education(as well)as far as academics are concerned.

    “Cal State campuses overwhelmed by remedial needs”

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_19526032

    Above all else, academics matter. We always can and should prosecute malevalent,dirty,greedy people as a separate issue, Public private or charter.

  • J.R.

    Non,
    My point was, Mr.Chavis is not the only one ripping off taxpayers. The whole system needs to be overhauled for corruption, from k-12 to college, from principals to superintendents to deans and college presidents. Don’t be distracted and take your eyes off the real problems.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Tribune reporter Doug Oakley reports American Indian Model School (AIM) can remain open until State Board of Education rules on its charters being repealed because Judge Grillo found the OUSD presentation lacking:

    “In issuing the tentative ruling, [Judge] Grillo said the district erred in not showing him that it considered the school’s high academic performance levels as the most important factor in making its decision to revoke the charter, as required by the state education law.”

    The District’s staff presentation failure supplied support for Judge Grillo’s ends justify the means ruling. This was the second test that found OUSD staff charter revoking presentation lacking the right stuff.

    The first test of the District’s case for revoking the AIM charters was the County appeal presentation and the County’s legal team tossed out most of the District’s case. The County upheld the District’s revoking of the charters but various procedural and flawed arguments in the presentation left the basis for revoking limited to a couple of arguments the County lawyers would support.

    If the second test was a performance based test, then the District’s staff failed to perform. Accountability anyone?

    Jim Mordecai

  • joe Shmoe

    OUSD is incompetent. First- they allow this school to open an elementary in violation of all rules (so they said), then this debacle!

    If I was Tony Smith, I would have quit too! What I want to know is how much do they pay John Yeh? That guy sure can do some lawyering!

    Throw him out, and the charter staff. Let the County regulate charters.

  • Leticia Bey

    Is it true AIPCS just got raided? Rumors of a raid from NBC…

    http://i.qkme.me/3v4yri.jpg

  • In and out

    Charter presentation snafu? You can go ask the other guy who got a contract renewal recently, together with finance genius Hal: chatterbox Montes de Oca.
    Accountability? Please, how long have we been around? Go ask interim (well-paid, do-nothing) superintendent Yee. He’s been principal, consultant, dean, BOE member…

  • J.R.

    In And Out,
    And because good old “uncle Jerry” Brown has(through deception) confiscated more public money and will re-direct(LCFF) more of it to districts with “poor kids”, all these bureaucrats will be getting fatter paychecks even though this district receives more money “per child” than surrounding comparable districts. Now with the new money just watch LAUSD and Oakland improve and put 1 Billion dollar schools in place. It will be a nirvana paradise for unions.

  • Jim Mordecai

    J.R.:

    It is NOT a union paradise when non-represented administrators and non-union consultants receive the bulk of more funding from the State in the Governor’s budget. The title of Assistant Superintendent has attached $140,000 plus perks and there is a whole van of Assistant Superintendents and more taking on that title than ever before.

    Remember Oakland has struggled to make funding of the classroom 55% of its budget and it will be interesting to see if the current settlement with the unions, including the teacher union, the OEA, changes budgeted money spent on the classroom to exceed 55% of the total for the some of the lowest paid teachers and classroom instructional assistants in the Bay Area.

    Jim Mordecai

  • In and out

    By the way, whoever is writing-moderating this blog… is it dead? Anybody manning it? I can´t believe that nobody wrote about the FBI raid or the farewell to Mr. Fantastic on June 30th.

  • J.R.

    Jim,
    Obliviousness aside, OUSD not many years ago had close to a half billion dollar budget, and yet many of these kids were not graduating, and many of those that did graduate were not prepared for either life or higher learning. Might as well use that money to wipe and flush it down the toilet.

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_19526032

    I’m telling you successful education is not primarily about the money, it’s the homelife, and fractured families of these kids. No amount of taxpayer money will fix this problem, unless you start paying irresponsible people to “not” have kids. The country surely would collapse if that happened.

    You worry too much about certain people getting paid more than others, but the truth is the public sector payroll is overloaded and over-paid so there is no way we could afford to give teachers what they deserve. Think about that when you insist all unions should be making more. Reality is that there are only so many private sector taxpayers to support the public sector.

  • Ann Onnimous

    I heard that the FBI and IRS investigations were ordered by Judge Gallo. Documents, computers and even some of the staff’s cell phones data were checked or taken. AIMS direction is happy about all this as it does not have to defend itself anymore against OUSD allegations. AIMS direction still needs to go to the State, though, to ask the State to keep AIMS open.

    I believe that education is horrible in Oakland because of some of OUSD policies, for instance the “enrichment classes” of the after-school program (mostly baby sitting). Those classes are pretentious and make the students more stupid and lazy than they already are (some of them). The after school teachers are weak and let the kids relax instead of reading and doing their homework.

    A big part of Oakland population is poor and uneducated because they are descendents of slave, or poor immigrants: they do not know that education is important. Those who know need to help them, but most people (educated or not) are too busy with their lives to worry about poor people’s lives.

  • Nontcair

    there is no way we could afford to give teachers what they deserve.

    Sure there is!

    Make education 100% private.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Nontcair:

    Remember when military defense was 100% private. It was called feudalism.

    Seems like you cry about an imperfect world and wish for a world without government. I’m not sure that a corporate world could operate without government support. And, pure private world would make living in cities impossible. I believe civilization is impossible without government. The issue is not love of anarchy or order but how to draw the moveable line between public and private to strike some kind of balance between public and private interest.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    education is horrible in Oakland because of some of OUSD policies, for instance the “enrichment classes” of the after-school program (mostly baby sitting).

    When one stops to think how much direct, “hands-on” teaching a child can absorb in a day, one must conclude that the ENTIRE school day is mostly babysitting.

    I oppose feudalism (poor people at the mercy of their wealthy landlord.

    I also oppose socialism (all people at the mercy of their wealthy-controlled government).

  • Jim Mordecai

    Turns out in recent years that the Oakland Unified School District has maintained the same standard of accountability of its finances as the United State Department of Defense. Both institutions have been unable to qualify for an audit because both institutions records have been so out of compliance with standards of accounting to enable an audit to be performed.

    Jim Mordecai

  • J.R.

    Ann,
    People need to be responsible for their own lives, it’s just that simple. In the last few decades poor immigrants have come from all over the world and taken advantage of educational opportunities in the US and have made rich,full lives for themselves. Is it hard? Yes it can be very hard, but the opportunities are there if people want to work, and to be honest many do not want to work for it.

  • Jim Mordecai

    J.R.

    The Yurok Northern California Indians at one time had a yearly ceremony wherein each member gave up their wealth and started anew.

    We don’t have that tradition so much with the inheritance tax not being as effective as the Yurok cultural tradition.

    Therefore, the concept of people being responsible for their own lives is difficult for the very rich. There is reference in the New Testament to the difficulty of a rich man getting to heaven.

    Seems like your principle of individual responsibility only applies for those in society without privilege and power. Isn’t that the system we live with today?

    And, earlier you labeled such a system socialism.

    Arguing what is an ideal system is an exercise that few are interested in spending much time. Seems that we are the exception.

    Folks want to pay attention to the real world disconnected to philosophical ideals although I will argue that philosophical ideas may well pay a role in the decision the State Board makes on the question of granting the American Indian Model charter schools their appeal from the OUSD revocation of the AIM three charter schools.

    A charter schools diverting public money to private purpose does get more attention than an argument over privatization of public education. Even more concrete issue is the question should American Indian Model charters be closed in spite of their record of high academic performance?

    Many parents with children working successfully in the AMI charters want their school to remain open. They care not a whit about philosophic issues; nor do parents of AIM students care about the legal issues that may be the basis of local, county and state board of education’s decision to close or keep open these charter schools.

    I have no idea how the State Board of Education will rule on sustaining the parents appeal from revocation of the three AMI charters.

    But, I do believe the outcome will depend on whether the majority of the State Board of Education believes above all in the philosophy that high test scores dominates in their decision making.

    If the State Board limits itself to the question of whether the Oakland Unified School District had sufficient grounds for revoking the charters because of mismanagement of funding then, I believe, the Board will sustain the revocation of the three AMI charters.

    One more factor that may influence the final decision of the State Board would be the issue of whether or not the current governance of the AIM charters has corrected the mismanagement of the AIM charters. If the Board believes that the current administration has addressed the issues of mismanagement, it may vote to nullify the revocation of the AIM charters.

    However, from a legal stand point, I believe that once the time period legally allowed to cure the charges of mismanagement had expired, that any subsequent positive actions to cure problems OUSD had with the governance shouldn’t be considered. The legal issue is limited to whether or not the Oakland Unified School District had grounds when it voted 4-3 to revoke the three AIM charters. Anything that happened after that vote is moot.

    If State Board majority feels OUSD School Board had legal grounds for revoking the AIM charters at the time of its vote, then the State Board would have a legal basis for voting to sustain the revocation.

    Yet, the State Board doesn’t have to follow strict legal basis for its decision. It is totally independent in making its decision. The motivation for its decision can be legal, emotional, philosophical, or any other basis. But there is no requirement for the State Board to justify its decision, only to make a decision on the appeal of the Oakland Unified School District’s decision to revoke the charters for the three American Indian Model charter schools.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    Again, if revocation were a standard punishment for financial improprieties then OUSD itself should be the institution facing it.

    Clearly, a double standard standard is in effect.

    It makes little difference to taxpayers whether their money is wasted on GOO contractors or DEM union members.

  • J.R.

    Non,
    Unions and politicians have been snugly bedfellows since forever(symbiotic relationship). These BS artists figure whatever the stupid taxpayer does not notice wont be missed(because they are working for survivals sake and to pay taxes and fealty) to the new ruling class.Who can say how long it will be before we are right back in dire financial straits once again(pension obligations and all….Ever since prop 30 passed, liberals have wanted to restore all cuts made since big recession(they never learn,do they)? How many times can you go to the well, before it just dries up?

  • Nontcair

    The folks who pay taxes refuse to part with their cherished gov services; I believe the well is *far* from dry.

    1) the push for higher taxes and higher spending is BIPARTISAN.

    2) our progressive state income tax (on the middle class) isn’t close to maxxing out

    3) our retail sales tax (on the poor) could probably be *doubled* (in small, steady increments) from where it is now.

    4) prop-13 is only one Court ruling away from being declared unconstitutional. Besides, with special assessment districts, who needs to repeal 13?

    Anti-tax Californians had better hunker down for another 25 years or so of political defeats.

  • J.R.

    Non,
    The tax base is not large enough to sustain all federal and state expenditures and more importantly, pensions and entitlements that taxpayers are on the hook for(prop 30 is short term fix).Your point about taxpayers and government services is not accurate people who can take care of themselves do not have much need or use of government services(outside of the obvious forced and or necessary uses). There is still one truism that holds a lot of weight, those who do not work can still vote.

    http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2012/bud/fiscal-outlook/fiscal-outlook-2012.aspx

  • Nontcair

    We can reasonably expect CA, long-term (over the next 25 years), real economic + population growth to average at least 4%/yr. We can also expect gov spending to grow at a faster pace –say 4.8%.

    CA gov spending is currently about $100B/y. This means that in 25 years, at 4.8 percent, we can expect CA gov spending to be about 3.3X what it is now. Assuming no price inflation (astonishing!), that will put our kids on-the-hook for around $330B/yr, or roughly

    $6,400 per person

    (up from its current burden of about $3,100)

  • J.R.

    Non,
    The federal government and it’s largesse(with our money)will absolutely crush us before long.

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/34-shocking-facts-about-u-s-debt-that-should-set-america-on-fire-with-anger

    Never forget, those of us that work to pay taxes are wage slaves to two masters (federal and state).

  • Nontcair

    Reports are that the Detroit City Council has been playing “kick the can” the past *60* years.

    California has *plenty* of time.

    CA has untold BILLIONS in untapped financial (taxpayer money) reserves. For instance, it can start charging the legal owners of the kids who attend public school a $15,000 per year (per kid) USER FEE.

    Naturally, such a wise policy would have to be sold to a skeptical public by claiming that the rich (who send their kids to private schools anyhow) aren’t paying their fair share.

    Of course the poor, who won’t ever have to pay, will vote for it.

    The middle class will vote for it because:

    1) it will tax the rich
    2) their own ante will only be a paltry $99 per year

    Until the following legislative session …

  • Nontcair

    There must be any number of poor kids who are forced to attend totally *horrible* OUSD schools, who actually live nearer to “distinguished” (and segregated) OUSD schools that are ‘reserved’ for middle class kids, or even to D&S ones for *rich* kids in Piedmont.

    “Borderline” cases.

    The same can probably be said for poor kids stuck in LAUSD who live in closer proximity to Beverly Hills, those in E. Palo Alto who live closer to P.A., and so forth.

    I’m sorry, but there’s no good reason why parents in those D&S schools shouldn’t have to pay up BIG TIME for their public education privileges.

    Otherwise, have *their* kids assigned to those awful schools.

    Now I just bring up those borderline cases to point out how obviously rigged the system is. However when one *really* thinks about it, one must conclude that kids who live *next* (and are assigned) to that junk public school are just as screwed as if they had lived on the border.

    As is EVERY OTHER kid assigned to that school.

  • Nextset

    Nice online article on the fate of the liberal/lefty public schools:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/08/gary-north/oligarchs-sell-wapo/

    They’ve said it better than I have previously. there is no future for these rotten urban public schools, or their employees.

  • J.R.

    The article would have more credibility if it were edited for errors.

  • Observer

    It’s a shame there’s no one reporting on Oakland Schools anymore. I’m hearing across the city–with the exception of the very, very top Elementary schools— enrollment is down. Same old story: enrollment lists are full on the first day of school with 27+ for kindergarten and 33+ 3rd grade and up, yet at least 10 students simply don’t show up to take those seats. The district plays business as usual, not allowing those seats to go to other students “just in case” that student shows up two weeks I to the school year (from the fields as the nature of this archaic rule intended?Hardly- these kids are enrolled in charter schools they were wait listed for and their parents cannot be bothered to the public they also signed up for know they’re not showing).

    Consolidation is in the air again and no one is saying anything.

  • In and out

    what can be expected? Somebody pulled the plug for this blog and somebody at OUSD must be happy about it. Just a shame and very suspicious. In the meantime, we can enjoy Troy´s reports.

  • Nontcair

    Why would OUSD want to disclose that, for example, its 45th least crappy school had seats available? That would only encourage parents with kids condemned to ##s 46-104 to “trade up”.

    The education establishment does better with more schools operating.

    Parents of kids in “good” OUSD schools don’t want gangstas transferring in. That must be what white libs mean by seeking “diversity”.

  • J.R.

    Secrecy is great for government bureaucracy, but its rough on those citizens who pay property taxes.

  • Luis Mota

    Tell the editor of this newspaper, who obviously saw fit to kill this blog slowly, first by reassigning Kathy, then assigning an intern, then splitting the task with overloaded journalists and, finally, drowning it in the summer vacation (when actually so many things get cooked).
    When I grow up, I wanna be friends with the likes of Hal, Santos, Montes de Oca, the Rexos (who know don’t have admin on special assignment under them, but community liaison-admin on special assignment that, guess what, respond to them)… I wanna be crooked and get paid for it!

  • Nontcair

    This blog can’t be as dead as some claim.

    One of my recent posts herein criticized the DEM Party and in particular, one of its most wealthy and influential constituencies.

    That post was *removed*.

    OUSD needs to endure an Occupy Protest. The District works for the benefit of the 1%, the likes of which include:

    the relative few (and well off) with kids in the District’s least sucky schools,

    the union members and contractors who leech off district (goverment) contracts,

    etc and so forth.