APPLE VALLEY, CA (June 19, 2017) – The Apple Valley Town Council has extended the business license for the Bright Futures Academy campus at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church for the next six months.
The Council’s decision came after a lengthy June 13 public hearing, where it heard how the number of calls from the school to the local San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department office had dropped sharply after the school instituted a number of measures to improve operations and campus safety.
During public testimony at the town council’s hearing, BFA Co-Owners Betti Colucci and Jeff LeComte said the school had increased staff training, hired two additional safety officers and repaired a faulty alarm system that was responsible for nearly 40 false alarms.
They also announced that BFA hoped to acquire a fourth campus in Adelanto, where it would transfer more than 20 of its Apple Valley students with emotional challenges. Separating those students from their peers with autism, who will remain at St. Timothy’s, would further reduce the potential for pupil conflict and the need for police assistance, said Colucci.
The town council called the June 13 hearing to consider an appeal by BFA of a town administration decision to revoke the school’s business license. Administrators said the school’s high volume of police calls was a drain on public resources.
Colucci and LeComte took responsibility for the high volume of calls, which came from the campus and not surrounding residents. BFA parents and St. Timothy’s parishioners also urged the council to give the school another chance.
Noting the school’s progress already, council members agreed. Turning away a staff recommendation to suspend the license, they voted to defer a decision for six months so the school could present a formal action plan and prove its police calls would remain low. In August, BFA will give the Town Council a progress report.
“We are appreciative of the Town Council’s decision to allow us to continue to serve our students throughout this time,” said BFA President Betti Colucci. “We look forward to showing our betterment to the Council during this period.”
With established campuses in Riverside, Twentynine Palms and Apple Valley, BFA is a nonpublic school specializing in providing academic and social-skills training for students with severe autism or behavioral and emotional disorders.
The CDE had temporarily suspended admissions at Riverside on March 24 as a precautionary measure after a spot inspection found three corrective actions. On Friday, June 16, 2017, the California Department of Education (CDE) on Friday notified Bright Futures Academy (BFA) that its Riverside campus has been recertified and can once again accept new students.
BFA currently serves about 250 students from more than 22 public school districts in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange counties.