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County to vote on fate of 2 high-performing Aspire schools

Yana Gracile | March 19, 2014

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aspire lugo academyLA County is set to vote on whether it should heed a decision of the LA Unified School Board to shut down two highly successful charter schools in the district: Aspire Antonio Maria Lugo Academy (AALA). and Aspire Ollin University Preparatory Academy.

The L.A. County Office of Education met yesterday to hear the schools’ appeals and is set to vote on their fate April 15.

The two schools failed to win enough votes to renew their charters at a highly charged board meeting last month (see story here) when members clashed over how the schools get paid for students needing special services.

At the hearing, Yolanda Garcia, a parent of two special needs children who have attended Aspire, was one of several parents who came out in full force to show their support for the two schools.

She told LA School Report that she wants board members to understand how her kids are impacted by the high quality education the charter school provides.

“I feel my children can do anything they want because the education AALA is giving my children is the correct one,” she said. “We have a lot of parent involvement. Parents and teachers work together to give the best for our children.”

The two schools have raised the ire of some school board members because they use what is known as an outside “SEPLA” – short for Special Education Local Planning Area – instead of contracting with LAUSD for special services. That is seen as diverting special education funds from the district. Board members acknowledged that the decision did not have anything to do with lack of confidence in the schools’ performance.

Charter renewal denials can be appealed to the County, which has the authority to overrule a school board decision.

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