VICTORVILLE-(VVNG.com): Options for Youth (OFY) is a well-known Charter school to those who reside in Northern and Southern California. Options for Youth Victor Valley, according to the Options for Youth Assistant Superintendent, Jesus Franco operated under the Victor Valley Union High School District (VVUHSD) successfully for 26 years.
As part of the Charter School agreement, these charters must renew their charter agreement with the school every five years. VVUHSD, according to District Spokesman, Kris Reilly was attempting to renew the Charter agreement which ends on June 30, 2016, and the district has recommended against renewing this agreement. This information came as a shock to the OFY Administration since OFY officials said that the district never contacted the administration with this information.
“OFY Victor Valley is surprised by the District staff recommendation published on the District website for the May 9, 2016, VVUHSD board meeting. OFY Victor Valley was informed that the charter school and the district would have an open dialogue while working through the renewal process to address any concerns the District may have,” an OFY Official said, in a written statement.
The board is set to meet on Monday, May 9, 2016, at the VVUHSD office located at 16350 Mojave Drive, Building 6 at 4:45p.m. for closed session and 6:15 p.m. for the public session to vote on whether or not to continue to charter OFY. This decision, according to VVUHSD Superintendent, Dr. Ron Williams will be based on academic performance and graduation rates for the school.
On the VVUHSD Board Agenda for Monday, May 9th it says, “On April 5, 2016, the District Board of Trustees held a public hearing on the Renewal Petition to consider the level of support for the Renewal Petition by teachers employed by the District, other employees of the District, and parents/guardians. During the public hearing, representatives of OFY-VV spoke in favor of the Renewal Petition. However, no District teachers, other District employees, or parents/guardians spoke in support of the Renewal Petition.”
Although OFY was awarded a six-year accreditation in 2014 by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) top accreditation for junior and senior high schools. VVUHSD officials believe that the school lacks the desired performance advances required for the district.
“Based on an analysis of Academic Performance Index scores, graduation rates and dropout rates, Options for Youth has not met the academic standards of comparable middle and high schools in the Victor Valley Union High School District, and we have therefore recommended that the Board of Trustees deny renewal of the school’s charter at the meeting tonight (May 9),” said Dr. Ron Williams in an official statement. “If the board decides to deny the charter, Options for Youth will have the opportunity to appeal and potentially receive a charter through San Bernardino County. No students will be immediately affected by the board’s decision.”
OFY officials strongly disagree with the claims that are being presented to VVUHSD Board Members with Superintendent Ron Williams calling them “entirely of inaccurate and/or misleading claims.”
“OFY leadership will be present at tonight’s meeting to refute Mr. Hawkins’ claims, as will staff, students, and parents who are eager to speak to OFY’s long-standing and invaluable contribution to the Victorville community,” said Williams. “We are confident the members of the board will vote appropriately and in the best interest of their constituents, allowing OFY to continue operation under charter renewal for another five-year term.”
VVUHSD also cites financial concerns about OFY. In the OFY official statement it said, “Since 2012, OFY Victor Valley has graduated 2,046 students, saving the community an estimated $658,812,000 at the low end, and possibly up to $801,827,400. OFY Victor Valley is forecasted to pay approximately $2.0 million.” OFY officials said that they also offer all expense paid educational out-of-state trips for students, to offer $8,000 to $25,000 college scholarships to students completing their 15-month CREW program. The CREW program is designed to prepare students for college through college readiness classes and financial aid assistance.
As far as the Academic Performance Index (API) scores for 2011 to 2013 OFY has gone from 648 in 2011, to 671 in 2012, to 692 in 2013 while Goodwill High School, a non-charter school has gone from 507 in 2011 to 550 in 2012, and back down to 508 in 2013. VVUSD officials claim the comparison is “problematic” since Goodwill is a Continuation School that requires students to be credit deficient as “one of the criteria of enrollment” while credit deficiency is not a requirement for OFY enrollment.
“The second factor in judging Goodwill’s API score is the size of its student population. Goodwill High’s API was calculated for a small school having between 11 and 99 valid STAR test scores included in the API,” said Riley. “The California Department of Education explains that APIs based on small numbers of students are less reliable and therefore should be carefully interpreted due to the small sample size. OFY, on the other hand, has a much larger student population with a much larger (and more reliable) sample size.”
OFY officials said that if the board denies renewal of the OFY Victor Valley’s charter around 2300 students may be displaced, 800 of those students being within the district boundaries. Some of these students were proven to not be particularly successful in traditional schooling, which has at least three times the OFY class size. VVUHSD officials said, “District administration has made a recommendation not to renew the OFY charter based on criteria provided by the state Education Code. OFY may appeal to the county in an effort to continue operating.”
Concerned with the prospect of the at least temporary lack of options, parents and past students will be in attendance to speak prior to the VVUHSD Board vote. “I graduated from Options. When I first transferred there I was on a downward spiral,” said Krys Saldana. “With the help of my teacher and now great friend I not only graduated on time but I was the key note speaker for the entire High Desert.”