Support OCSA's Charter Appeal to Orange County Board of Education

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The nationally recognized Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) transforms lives by providing arts and academic education to a diverse student body, impacting thousands of students from more than 100 cities across Southern California.

For the past 20 years, OCSA has had a positive and collaborative relationship with its charter authorizer, Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD). However, in March 2019, SAUSD issued an unfounded invoice to OCSA demanding more than $19 million dollars for 17 years of special education costs not incurred by OCSA, violating terms of the legally binding charter and Special Education Local Plan Area agreement. This event and the resulting litigation have caused the previously positive relationship between OCSA and SAUSD to deteriorate. For more information, please read this press release.

Then, for the first time in our history of four charter renewal petitions, on December 10, 2019, the SAUSD Board voted to conditionally approve OCSA’s charter renewal petition for the next five-year term (2020-2025). SAUSD’s conditional approval was contingent upon OCSA’s agreement to address the findings provided in a SAUSD staff report, or else the renewal petition would be considered denied.

OCSA reviewed the staff report and found that it utilized outdated documents, unverified sources, misrepresented data, and mischaracterizations of OCSA’s program. It did not provide specific revisions that OCSA could make in order to achieve an unconditional approval. Additionally, California Code of Regulations requires an appeal to be filed within 30 days of denial. SAUSD knowingly included language in their resolution that enabled them to retroactively change their conditional approval to a denial after OCSA’s 30-day window to appeal the decision would have closed. This effectively denied OCSA its due process rights and appears retaliatory in light of the ongoing litigation.

At the direction of OCSA's Board of Trustees, OCSA rejected the findings in the staff report, rendering SAUSD’s decision a denial. OCSA is now appealing to the Orange County Board of Education (OCBE), hopeful to begin a new partnership in education with the county as its charter authorizer. Please sign this petition to show your support of OCBE approving OCSA’s charter as written or under reasonable conditions.