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Desert Trails Gets Charter

“LaVerne Prep wins by landslide”
by Lynnea Lombardo
Victorville Daily Press
October 19, 2012

LaVerne Preparatory Academy will be the charter school transforming Desert Trails Elementary, winning the parent vote by a landslide late Thursday night, drawing cheers and hugs from the small crowd of parents and children gathered just outside the school.

The small group of Parent Revolution workers, Desert Trails Parent Union parents and children was disbanded quickly, however, as rumors of a bomb threat circled within the crowd, sending everyone back to the Desert Trails Parent Union headquarters a few blocks away.

The threat came as no surprise to Joe Morales, a DTPU member and founder of HD Dads for Education.

“We’ve experienced opposition from the very beginning,” Morales said. “But we are victorious once again.”

LaVerne Prep in Hesperia, which serves mainly minority students, had the highest API score for charter schools in the High Desert and the highest API score in the entire Hesperia Unified School District.

“The parents made the right choice. We are going to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” said Debra Tarver, founder and executive director of LaVerne Prep, via speaker phone at the DTPU headquarters house. “Our job is the kids. We are ready to go there and do whatever it takes to get things the way they need to be.”

According to a press release from Parent Revolution, this is the first time in the United States that parents, using the Parent Trigger law, have had a direct say in who should run their failing school. For the Parent Trigger law to take effect, more than 50 percent of parents with children attending the school had to sign a petition in favor of comprehensive changes they would like to see made. The Adelanto School District Board of Trustees attempted to rescind 97 signatures of parents

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Parent Trigger Fails Again

“Parents Fail in Bid to Turn California School into a Charter”
by Stephanie Banchero
Wall Street Journal
February 22, 2012

School-district officials in a Southern California town rejected an attempt by parents to convert their low-performing elementary school into a charter school, the second time an effort to use California’s new “Parent Trigger” law has been blocked.

A group of parents of students at Desert Trails Elementary School in Adelanto, Calif., turned in a petition last month that they said had the signatures of nearly 70% of the school’s parents. Under the state’s Parent Trigger law, passed in 2010, parents can force a district to close a school, convert it to a charter-—a public school run by a nongovernment group—or replace the principal and the teachers if at least 50% of the parents sign a petition. Similar legislation was passed in Texas and Mississippi last year and is being considered in other states.

During a school-board meeting Tuesday night in Adelanto, district officials said that 97 parents had withdrawn their signatures because the parents said they were duped into signing the petition or misunderstood its intent. This left the group about a dozen names short of the bar.

The school board, by law, has given the parents 60 days to try to verify the names of at least 50% of the parents at the 650-student school. The parents say they will try again.

The effort in Adelanto was only the second time parents had tried to take advantage of the California law. A petition initiated last year by parents in Compton has been tied up in a lengthy court battle with the school district.

Teachers unions have generally opposed the trigger laws, arguing that troubled schools need more resources rather than sweeping staff changes or closing. Parents leading the Adelanto petition have said that their calls

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