Support Napa Students - Deny the Mayacamas Charter

NVUSD Board; Napa County Board of Education

A petition for a new 336-student charter school called Mayacamas Charter Middle School was unanimously rejected in December by the Napa Valley Unified Board of Education. Despite this, the petitioners have now appealed to the Napa County Board of Education. The school is not likely to be successful, and the petition presents an unsound educational plan for the students it intends to enroll. Further, the approval of this school would reduce the enrollment of NVUSD by over 300 pupils, which will have an undeniable negative impact for Napa Valley students, including due to likely cuts to staffing, services and programs at the middle school level and beyond. Please sign this petition to let the Napa County Board of Education know TODAY that you oppose this charter school petition and instead want them to focus on supporting NVUSD to keep building its schools to be as strong as possible for all our students. Please also plan to attend the Napa County Board of Education hearing (via zoom) on February 1st to speak up for NVUSD students.

To: NVUSD Board; Napa County Board of Education
From: Corey Penrose

Please vote to deny the Mayacamas​ Charter Middle School petition, and instead stand up for all Napa Valley Unified students to have the strong schools that they deserve. The proposed school is demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition, presents an unsound educational plan, and will have a negative fiscal and community impact for NVUSD students.

** There is not a viable plan for enrolling and supporting English Learners at the levels the petition specifies. The petition projects that 20% of their student body will be English learners, and the majority of the ELs will be long-term English learners (LTELs), yet they have no plan to hire a dedicated English learner coordinator for the first two years. The Head of School, who has numerous other responsibilities, will be solely tasked with EL coordination for the first two years, and will not be required to be fluent in Spanish. Further, the entire section on English Learners is cut-and-pasted from a petition submitted by different petitioners for a school in another district, and is not written for Napa Valley students.

** At least 16 sections of the charter petition were written for students in another district, not students in Napa Valley. The law requires a charter to demonstrate how it will serve the specific students of that specific district – in this case, the students of NVUSD. By failing to tailor any of its educational program to the pupils of Napa Valley Unified and instead simply copying and pasting from a charter petition in another district, the petitioner has failed to meet the most basic threshold of the law.

** The plan for serving students with disabilities is insufficient and fully copied and pasted from a charter petition submitted in another district.

** The approval of the charter school will have an adverse impact on NVUSD middle school students through cuts to staffing, programs and services. NVUSD is currently in declining enrollment, and the proposed charter school intends to enroll 300 middle school students, which will exacerbate the decline. This enrollment represents a 2% enrollment decrease for NVUSD, and an 8% enrollment decrease for NVUSD’s middle school programs. That decrease will have a significant impact on the district’s middle school students, who would face fewer resources for staff, programs and services going forward.

** The budget is not sound. The financial assumptions in the petition do not seem to be based on the actual student population of NVUSD and are, therefore, unsound from a budgeting perspective.

For the above reasons, and others, the petition should be denied.