Ask Your Reps to Require the CDE to oversee the Ross Valley Charter

Send a letter to Marc Levine and Mike McGuire urging them to pressure the CDE to immediately require a complete material revision of the Ross Valley Charter petition.

This is the draft of the letter that you can modify prior to sending.

Dear Senator McGuire and Representative Levine,

As voters and concerned taxpayers from the Ross Valley, we write to urgently request you personally intervene to ensure that the California Department of Education (CDE) immediately require the Ross Valley Charter to undergo a material revision to its entire charter petition, as opposed to individual sections, and not on June, 25 2018 as Jonathan Mendick, spokesman for the CDE, has indicated.

The CDE’s appointed State Board of Education (SBE), approved the opening of the charter, after it was denied by two local, democratically-elected boards, the Ross Valley School District’s, and the Marin County Office of Education’s. As the charter's authorizer the CDE is now responsible for oversight of this charter.

The Ross Valley Charter has created significant turmoil in our community, due, in part, to its continued operation at well below its projected 220 students[1] (currently 159), and well below its stated in-district enrollment of 189 students (currently 119), the number which formed the basis for space allocation under Proposition 39. In a letter to CDE’s Judie Hall, dated August 16, 2017, Ross Valley School District noted that just prior to opening, the charter school was short of its enrollment projections by well over 25%, which is the trigger to require a material revision according to the Memorandum of Understanding between SBE and RVC[2]. Despite numerous calls and petitions to the CDE and SBE from community members, the CDE has refused to require such a material revision from RVC.

In addition, the charter’s utilization of Prop 39 has caused very real disruption and harm at White Hill, the only district middle school, which has been further inflamed due to the charter’s refusal to return space for which it is not legally entitled, as they are substantially under-enrolled (see above). In addition to an overall reduction in space available to district kids, the impacts include: displacement of teachers onto roving carts; classes taught in hallways; loss of library and gym time; loss of locker space; and increased traffic and congestion[3] for the entire community.

We have made repeated attempts to reach out to the CDE, via email, petitions, phone calls, protests during CDE site visits, and in-person meetings. The CDE will not meet with us, and they have consistently shut us down. You are our elected representatives. We are asking you to represent us and work on our behalf to hold the CDE and SBE accountable to their purported duty of monitoring this charter school. The CDE and SBE have been ignoring us. We only ask that you do not. The community is watching this situation very closely, and we will be grateful for your actions come election time.

Furthermore, in order to protect children, teachers and communities like ours from future disruption, we strongly urge you to support and co-sponsor (Senator McGuire) SB 1362 and SB 808, which would return to local, democratically-elected representatives, the oversight and fiduciary responsibilities for which they were elected.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


[1] Read the charter’s petition here:

[2] Read the MoU here: relevant section 4.2

[3] While the situation at White HIll is difficult, we support the district’s decision to place RVC there, as it was the only site which fulfilled the legal requirements of Proposition 39 in the most cost-effective manner.

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