Dear Charter@NUSD.org

Sometimes I think North Korea and South Korea stand a better chance of being unified than the Novato Unified School District does.

Doors to the NUSD Board room open tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 8, at 5:45 p.m. for the public hearing on the new charter school being proposed by the North Bay Educational Foundation. [The meeting is slated to begin at 6 p.m.] As Novato Patch Editor Brent Ainsworth wrote last week, anyone hoping to make a public comment will be allotted two minutes rather than the typical three. It's anticipated that the hearing will be heavily attended, with many more likely following along at home.

If you don't want to speak in public but still want to make your feelings on the subject known to the Board and the district, you can email charter@nusd.org. All comments received become part of the public record, which shouldn't discourage you one bit from stating your opinion. 

Afraid to speak your mind for fear of losing friends? Really? What kind of friends do you have? Afraid to speak your mind because you might offend someone? I'm sorry, I thought the education of your children was more important. My mistake.

No mistaking that there is a huge divide. I see it as being as vast as the one that divides the country as a whole. Novato is a town divided, although perhaps not as equally divided as the country. Or at least it doesn't appear so equal from where I sit, mingling with both.

Yes, I have friends gung-ho supporting the charter movement. And, yes, I have friends gung-ho opposing it. I figure if I managed not to lose any friends on either side of the political aisle in election season, I can hope not to lose any during the charter fight. Of course, I did vote Libertarian. But that’s only because my vote in California for Obama or Romney didn’t matter and my partner and I agreed to disagree with a unified vote for Gary Johnson.

But everyone’s vote matters now.

Want to read up on what proponents say and what opponents say before weighing in? Enjoy some light reading at www.northbayedu.org or SaveOurNovatoSchools.com.  

If you have an opinion, tell the district. It’s as easy as sending an email to charter@nusd.org.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike November 08, 2012 at 07:46 AM
I noticed signs recently opposing the Charter school. I just visited their site to see what their argument is. I went to their facts page here: http://saveournovatoschools.com/facts/financial-facts/ It is rife with red herrings and speculation. Some repeating phrases from their "facts" page; "likely eventually result in" "would probably be lost" Is there a place where I can view more objective information about this matter which utilizes actual data?
Mel Larson November 08, 2012 at 07:58 AM
I can find no financial analysis on the NUSD web site. The NBEF site has a piece refuting some of the claims by this group. http://www.northbayedu.org/images/PDFs/myths.pdf What the save our schools folks seem to not understand is that while the ADA revenue follows the child, so does the cost to educate that child. That's pretty basic accounting. And if the charter can do as they claim and bring in kids from private, each one of those will be contributing to the district where they had not before.
Bill November 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I guess your basic accounting then would assume any kids brought back to the district would bring costs too. For what its worth, any kids that left private school for the proposed charter school would only bring revenue TO THAT SCHOOL. Not to the NUSD. (and dont try that "its a public school nonsense", any ADA from the few kids that might go charter stays with the charter, it is not realized by NUSD)
JBW November 08, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Patty, I really appreciate your relatively unbiased articles. As the father of a second grader in the NUSD I am concerned like other parents about the closure of one of our very good neighborhood schools. I heard about this charter idea about 30-60 days ago, how long has it been in the works? It seems like this is being forced down our community's throat too fast. I'm not completely opposed to charter schools, but this is happening so quickly that those on both sides are having trouble understanding the facts and ramifications as noted by many of the comments (note, the first two commenters to this story are having trouble finding the facts they require to make a properly informed decision). I think if the pro charter advocates could have September 2014 as a goal to open in lieu of 2013 we could have a chance to make this less decisive and more fact based. There are so many important decisions that need answering and attention before we can make properly informed decisions.
Answerme November 08, 2012 at 03:40 PM
JBW, that has been the NBEF intention all along. To try to sneak this thru by jamming NUSD with last second document submissions and a non-collaborative approach. These founders are the very same people who tried to secretly convert Rancho last year. Lonson is on record as saying as much. Wouldn't you think if they actuallly wanted to address the needs of the underperforming that they actually would have spoken to them, asked what they need, identified any shortcomings. Do you think they spoke to the specialists of the teachers that actually work at closing the gap every day? Where did NBEF come to the conclusion the CK was the "right" program to achieve this in Novato? Why does it need to be a seperate site? Why isn't the proposal in Spanish? The answers are all pretty obvious. This isn't about "program choice", as they hide behind, this is about "chosing who your kids go to school with".
Mel Larson November 08, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Hey Bill Private school student = 0 revenue and 0 cost to NUSD - we agree Private moves to charter = revenue and cost are both the responsibility of the charter (although this a public school funded by ADA state revenue). You are right. However, for every child at charter, a special education fee of $735 is paid to NUSD for contracting for those service (this is for every child, not just that require special ed programs). If the NUSD provides space at Hill it looks like it might account for another $250-300 per student paid back to the district in the form of rent. Then there are some other misc. consulting and oversight type of fees that I see. So it seems to me anyway that for every child coming from private to charter would bring, through charter payments to the NUSD, somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000. The District press release said that over 20% of the petitioners were from non NUSD schools, so wouldn’t that bring in money to our Novato district? From your other posts it appears you might be down in Los Altos and associated with the Bullis Charter School group. I have no knowledge of your district and how the charter does or doesn’t consult back with your district, so this accounting may not be the same for you.
Tina McMillan November 08, 2012 at 04:51 PM
http://www.northbayedu.org/ There is a myth and facts sheet that you can reach from this page.
Marys Mama November 08, 2012 at 05:07 PM
My thoughts exactly! Unfortunately, any time I post, I've been shot down and lumped as a malicious charter-hater .... and my position remains: it is happening too fast, not the right time, etc, etc. I have never once said I am against the charter, per se ... but I want us to proceed cautiously. If these proponents love and cherish NUSD as much as they claim ... then they should be more than happy to target 2014. I think that's a brilliant idea, JBW. One year won't make it or break it ... and has the potential for EVERYONE on BOTH sides of the issue to be at peace with what's happening. The pace of all of this is just way too fast. Let's slow down, take a deep breath and do it the RIGHT way ... I'm not saying yes OR no to the charter ... I'm saying take a measured approach to the process.
Great Kids, Great Schools November 08, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I am still unclear on the whole process undertaken and what we are solving for; What gaps in the current program have been identified? What other pedegogic choices were considered in addition to Core Knowledge? Why/How does Core Knowledge rise above the rest and determined to be the right choice for our community and charter school? Why right now? I have fished for answers to some basic questions and no one steps up with answers. Just bitterness. Perhaps there has been no work done to yield answers to my basic questions but that doesn't seem possible. Anybody?
Cindy Harris November 08, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Thanks for the reminder that the meeting is tonight.
Patty Maher November 08, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I can't say with certainty when the movement -- following the Rancho conversion attempt -- began. I was not a part of that conversion effort and am not involved in this effort. But I know I heard rumblings about this one as early as October of last year (2011). JBW, thanks for your appreciation. I'm now going to have a motivational poster made up that touts my "relatively unbiased articles." ;)
Novato Federation of Teachers November 09, 2012 at 02:46 AM
The Novato Federation of Teachers' stance on the proposed charter school is available at novatonft.org.


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