Three-Quarters of Charter Petition Signers from NUSD Schools

Math at work: 382 charter petition signatures submitted; one-half of the charter petition signatures represent Rancho students; three-quarters are currently enrolled in an NUSD school.

About three-quarters of the students with a meaningful intent to attend North Bay Academy, the new charter hoping to open for the 2013-14 school year, currently attend a Novato Unified School District school, according to a press release from the charter school creators.

In total, the parents of 382 students signed the charter school petition submitted to the district Oct. 11 by the North Bay Educational Foundation.

The release also noted that half of the 382 students are attending Rancho Elementary. The petition also included 17 signatures from teachers with a meaningful intent to teach at the proposed North Bay Academy.

The release notes the number of signatures overall "significantly exceed[s] the required number to show viability of the school and its operating budget for the inaugural 2013/14 school year."

NBEF board members Robert Verhoeff and MJ Lonson are both quoted, with Verhoeff noting that their focus now turns to furthering NBEF's community outreach and education.

Lonson is quoted as saying, "Support for a Core Knowledge public charter school here in Novato has been tremendous to date. In addition to a significant number of signatures from Rancho parents, who have previously demonstrated a preference for educational alternatives and schools of choice, we are pleased to see broad-based support from families in 23 schools throughout Marin and Sonoma counties."

So now we know where half of the students come from. Is the fact that half come from Rancho surprising? Personally, I thought the Rancho contingent would represent a greater percentage. I don't know, yet, how it breaks down by pre-K, elementary and middle. More information will be coming out, likely on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the district has just a couple more days to verify the completeness of the petition, and to answer the question of when the 30-day clock in which to hold a public meeting starts and stops.

Stay tuned. 

[Note: I received the press release as part of an email last night, and I've created and uploaded a PDF of the release in its entirety.]

[Another note: I received word from NBEF at about 9:45 a.m. Oct. 16 that NUSD has requested additional information. At this time, NBEF is planning to provide the additional information and resubmit the petition later today, Oct. 16.]

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SP October 16, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Is the charter school going to be a dependent or independent charter school? And, is their intent (with District approval) to be directly or indirectly funded? These two factors have major impacts on funding, access to parcel tax money, etc.
Patty Maher October 16, 2012 at 09:43 PM
SP, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "dependent" or "independent." If, by dependent, you mean is the district behind the move, then that's a resounding "no." This is definitely a school being created by parents and teachers. As for directly or indirectly funded, the petition states that it will be directly funded. Interestingly, it states under its Governance Structure heading, "The Academy will be a directly funded independent charter school."
Kevin October 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM
"The release also noted that half of the 382 students are attending Rancho Elementary." WOW, what a shocker! Go private you cheapskates!
Tuna MacMullen October 17, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Seriously! The charter is exactly what we thought it was. Rancho parents not getting what they wanted so they are going to stick it to the whole district.
Tina McMillan October 17, 2012 at 03:41 AM
382 students total 75% from Novato schools = 286 students 25% out of District = 96 students 50% from Rancho = 143 students 50% other Novato schools = 143 students NUSD has 8000 students The 286 represent 3.575% of the total number of registered Novato students. Then you have 96 from out of district who bring their ADA with them. 17 teachers from NUSD want to teach at the charter. Only SONS members would conceive of such a effort as being "to stick it to the whole district." While SONS might conceive of such a plot I sincerely doubt any sane person would go to this kind of extreme to stick it to anyone. "California's charter schools are funded much like other non‐charter California public schools. They receive funding from local property taxes, state education aid programs, the California Lottery, the federal government, fundraising, and other sources. They are prohibited from charging tuition, but may charge fees for certain items to the same extent as non‐charter public schools may." "Charter schools are entitled to funding from five primary sources: • The “Charter School General Purpose Grant,” • The “Charter School Categorical Block Grant, • State categorical and special‐purpose programs, • The California Lottery, and • Federal categorical programs. In addition, many charter schools seek substantial grant funding and/or engage in various fundraising activities, sometimes raising considerable amounts of funds and/or in‐kind support."
Tina McMillan October 17, 2012 at 03:50 AM
"Direct” versus “Local” Funding "The above‐referenced share of local property taxes must be provided by school districts to charter schools based on their attendance rates and according to a cash flow schedule specified in state law. Charter schools may opt to receive their state and federal funds either directly or through their charter‐granting district. Schools that seek a high degree of fiscal autonomy generally opt for direct funding. Locally‐funded schools must work in close coordination with their local district." [PDF] California Charter School Finance in a Nutshell - Weebly
Roger October 17, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Tuna, the Charter is bringing approximately 90 kids into the district that are currently going to private schools or public schools in other cities. You should say "Thank you, Charter."
Jaime Molina Diaz October 17, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Tina ...are you delusional? It's an obvious attempt by Rancho parents who are afraid to have their children go to school with Hispanics to hijack the entire district. You post about this and that and have completely failed to look at the biggest issue here....plain, old American bigotry. And from all of your posting about the charter, it leads me to believe that you are the biggest of bigots. Bravo, Tina. You are truly making a name for yourself. And I am neither a SONS supporter nor a charter supporter...I have no kids in school. Honestly, I'm embarrassed for you.
Tina McMillan October 17, 2012 at 04:18 AM
And yet another name emerges. I don't think I can keep them all straight. If the Goebell's remarks don't work then try calling her a bigot or a racist. She must be or what does that make me for hating all families from Rancho. Hmmm, I wonder… If you recall, Rancho was started by parents from Hamilton when it was an active Air Force Base. I grew up on Air Force Bases throughout the country, in the Middle East and in Europe. I think my life experiences have probably been a lot more diverse than yours including my extended family. So what if the real issue is that I believe school choice is a good thing and I am willing to trust in the innovation of the Novato families who have created this new program. Perhaps the problem is that you are a bigot because you can't conceive of anyone wanting to create a school that teaches all children because you struggle with the very issues you see in others. I don't know, it could be that you need to look in the mirror and face your own biases. In the meantime, I will keep posting as much fact based information as I can find, under my actual name and not allow bully's to dictate my actions.
Amy Oclassen October 17, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Just for the record, I chose Rancho for my kids. My oldest is now a sixth grader and I chose San Jose Middle School over my neighborhood school, Sinaloa. I do not appreciate being called a racist, especially after seven years (and counting) of serving in leadership positions at Rancho and working very hard to devise better outreach and achieve greater diversity at Rancho. It's rather difficult to compete with Lynwood for these students (one mile from Rancho) which has an extensive set of programs and services for Spanish-speaking and low income families. Services which Rancho cannot afford until we achieve a large enough population to qualify for additional resources (Title I and Title III funding). I am personally offended - you don't know my motives or criteria for school choice, so quit speaking for me.
John B October 17, 2012 at 04:40 AM
At one of the meetings I think I remember it being stated that the charter would not receive any of the parcel taxes or other sources of funding. Those would stay 100% with the non-charter schools.
John B October 17, 2012 at 04:44 AM
I agree with Patty and previous poster Pete Hamilton, that I am a little surprised that the percentage from Rancho is not a clear majority.
Pam Russo October 17, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Wanting what one thinks is best for your child is what good parents do. Knowing what is best is often a guess, with a few facts and fingers crossed. Facts are hard to come by, sorting out truth from illusion is an art. Your fact, my illusion, and vice versa. Being honest and open to differences is what we need to strive for. Name calling and labeling motives only creates further division. My granddaughter is in first grade at Rancho and we were thrilled last year when she was admitted and proud our daughter took this path. Thirty years ago I took the easy way out and placed our daughter in private school. By the way she is of Hispanic heritage so let's take the racist card off the table. Fighting for alternative education in a public school setting helps everyone, now and in the future, private school is simply paying money and changes nothing. Bravo to all those seeking out facts and making a difference, the right path is often not easy and littered with those that throw rocks rather than find solutions. Stay strong and focused. Pam Russo.
Educate the Community October 17, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I guess your math is as bad as your reasoning. Must be all that Charter School math you've picked up. Here's your brilliant math: "75% from Novato schools = 286 students 25% out of District = 96 students 50% from Rancho = 143 students 50% other Novato schools = 143 students" Um, like your ridiculous claims about most facts related to the Charter School, your numbers don't add up: If 50% are from Rancho, and 25% are from out of district, that leaves only 25% from other in-district schools, not 50% So the reality is we are talking about 95 students outside of Rancho from NUSD. They represent 1% of the roughly 7,200 non-Rancho district students (7,500 total NUSD students minus 300 Rancho students). Love how you tried to double the number with your charter school math. 60% percent of Rancho parents want this- 1% of remaining people in District want this, and you are spinning as not a Rancho initiative?!!! Selfish, narcissistic, and misinformed.
Educate the Community October 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Wanting what's best for your child? What about all the other parents who want to keep their neighborhood school's funding because they think those schools are what's best? And you admit to wanting to go through with this even though "Knowing what is best is often a guess, with a few facts and fingers crossed." Unbelievable. This is fact: this effort will impact the remaining schools. At a minimum dollars will leave the schools, at most, a school will close. Guess you should rephrase it as "What I think is best for my child, but have no idea if it will work, and will impact thousands of families who don't want it and screw up what they thought was best for their child." Let's look at the math again for these 380 petitioners: 50% are from Rancho, and 25% are from out of district, so only 25% or 95 students are from other in-district schools. So the reality is we are talking about 95 students outside of Rancho from NUSD. This is roughly 1% of the non-Rancho district students. 60% percent of Rancho parents want this- 1% of remaining people in District want this and you are attempting to spin this as choice? Screw the 99% of the district that doesn't want this, You want to try something that nobody can say for certain will work, but will definitely impact the choice other parents have made for their kids. Selfish, narcissistic, and misinformed. Shame on you people. How dare you inflict your "guess with fingers crossed" on the rest of us.
Patty Maher October 17, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Educate and Tina, you're both wrong. Half of the 382 hailing from Rancho equals 191 students. (And I'm just making the leap that the "half" noted in the press release is 50% rather than a bit over or a bit under.) So Tina is wrong when she says 143. And, Educate, you're wrong when you say that's 60% of Rancho parents. Rancho is now at just over 500 students. The 191 represents just under 40% of Rancho students (or "parents," if you prefer that and we don't spin down that rabbit hole of multiple children). I'm not going to go even more deeply into the statement about non-Rancho district students, Educate, but I will point out that if we're going to compare directly, we need to look on an elementary school level to compare how many parents of Rancho to how many parents of other district elementary schools are represented. Your point that Rancho students are overwhelmingly more represented is still accurate.
Patty Maher October 17, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I think painting all Rancho parents with the brush of bigotry is as ludicrous as saying everyone with a Spanish-sounding surname is undocumented.
Mark Schoenbaum October 17, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Funny how supporters of the charter use their real names and opponents use monikers. I guess they are ashamed. And they should be. They use words like complainers, cheapskates, selfish, narcissistic, misinformed, bigots. This is how people act when they want to bully others, not when they want to participate in a discussion. I am ashamed that many of you are Novato residents.
Kevin October 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Move then!
Mark Schoenbaum October 17, 2012 at 04:34 PM
You first, Kevin
Tina McMillan October 17, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Patty and Ed I did the math using the statements from the NBEF email. I am glad to request the actual numbers and yes it is much like a story problem where you have to decide which function to address first. Based on the language used in the email I took the total and then removed the out of district students first to see who was left. I understand from Patty's comments that is wrong. Patty do you have the actual numbers? My email did not contain them. Regardless of how you break down the numbers under charter school law it is a viable population with which to start a new school. School consolidation is the second issue. NUSD has been talking about closing an elementary school since it closed Hill. The middle school students on the two remaining campuses are substantial. It is unlikely that either middle school could close and that one campus could handle the remainder. The elementary school issue is the bigger issue only because the district brought it up back before Hill closed. They were consolidating. If they used Hill for the charter it would give the charter a chance to reach out to an economically ethnically diverse population. They could then move daytime programs from Hill to existing underpopulated campuses. This would require working with the charter as a community. I sincerely doubt SONS proponents would support such an effort. Their comments seem to be no charter no matter what.
Steve Jordan October 17, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Kevin "Move then!" I did just that! Which I am sure you will have some great retort to... it is to bad the Patch doesn’t have a bullying program. But the truth is you do not need Mark or any other supporter of this charter to leave town. Allow them to start their school and they will be out of your hair. In the end it’s the same effect financially but at least we keep people who by all accounts to posting’s on this topic are at least kind and respectful of others.
Steve Jordan October 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Educate the Community Is starting a charter school illegal? No
 Did your current governor start a Charter School? Yes, several. Did your current NUSD superintendent start and sit on a charter school board? Yes If you have a problem with charter’s take it up with Cal. Dept. of Ed. or the state because what this group is doing is legal.
Steve Jordan October 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I am a charter school supporter but not for the reason you may think. My child attends a racially and socially mixed public school, but we do have a charter in our town. Before the charter started our school was struggling and now we are seeing great improvements. One reason I love being an American is because we have competition. Competition pushes us all to be the best we can be and schools are no exception.
Patty Maher October 17, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I don't have the actual numbers. I, too, am only going by what the press release email said. I'll do my best to get a breakdown to share. I know from the district that I can't access through them until the five-day review of the charter is completed. It will then be made public. I don't know if that five-day review clock restarted yesterday when NBEF resubmitted to address two points requested by the district or if it is now public. It's an ever-evolving process, certainly.
Carra R-J October 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I think we're all making much ado about nothing, when it comes to the "how many Rancho parents?!" question ... because ALL this is ... is MEANINGFUL INTENT. In my humble opinion, devious Rancho parents are smart enough to leave their names OFF this "meaningful intent" list ... so as to not make clear to the community what's going on ... (i.e. making this charter another exclusive Rancho school). The truly telling numbers will be how many Rancho parents drop their kids off on the first day of school at the new charter ....
Great Kids, Great Schools October 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The behavior exhibited around this issue remains troubling to an admitted outsider. Whether charter is the correct course or not and whether CK is the proper curriculum or not has not been properly researched. There has been no gap analysis of the current curriculum offered by the NUSD. There has been no evaluation of the multiple pedagogic choices available. Proper buy in by all constituents has not been achieved. This has been rushed and is not good for the kids or community. I hope the District makes the right choice for the long term success of all the children and schools in Novato. Meanwhile we will remain with our choice of economic sacrifice and stay in Private.
Suzanne October 19, 2012 at 08:07 AM
Going private has greater negative impact than charter on the district
Suzanne October 19, 2012 at 08:26 AM
As engaged parents looking for the best possible education for their children move out of Novato, it isn't good for our schools, our local businesses or our local economy. Strong public schools, high test scores and education options can attract and retain familes to Novato and keep the community strong. There may be some cost to the district for this charter school, however, there may be a far greater cost to the community long term if we keep losing families who are moving further south in search of better schools.


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