Procopio Helps Secure Five-Year Renewal of State’s First Independent Parent Empowerment Charter School
March 14, 2016 (San Diego) _ On March 7, the San Bernardino County Board of Education approved by a 3:2 vote the five-year renewal of the Desert Trails Preparatory Academy (DTPA), a charter school located in the Adelanto Elementary School District. DTPA opened in 2013 when over 70% of the parents at the former district elementary school used California’s parent trigger laws to convert their failing district school to a charter school.
Represented by Procopio attorneys Greta Proctor, Greg Moser and Merrick Wadsworth, DTPA had focused its appeal on the school’s remarkable academic turnaround. At Monday’s County board meeting, the three County board members who voted in the school’s favor each commented on the school’s accomplishments in academic achievement, which is the focus of the law on renewals.
“This win keeps the school doors open for over 500 families, many of whom are the very same families who three years ago had to go to court multiple times to force the district to follow the law and convert their children’s failing school,” said Greta Proctor, Senior Counsel at Procopio. “The community of Adelanto has had limited educational choices for its students. Desert Trails will be only the second charter authorized by the County – a testament to the school’s undeniable positive turnaround.”
In alignment with Procopio’s focus on charter school advocacy for schools like DTPA, the renewal is also an important marker for the state’s relatively new parent empowerment law. DTPA’s success, and the County’s approval of the renewal over the district’s attempt to take back the school, shows that transforming a failing school into a charter is about more than approving an initial few-year charter term. This decision makes a statement about how a successful parent empowerment school can be a real, permanent solution for a failing school and a community in need of diverse educational options.
“Prior to its conversion to a charter school, the former Desert Trails Elementary School was ranked dead last out of ten schools in the district academically,” said Proctor. “Now, based on last year’s state-wide Smarter Balanced tests, the school is ranked third in the district in English Language Arts/Literacy and fifth in Math. With this renewal, Desert Trails can continue to do its job and focus on serving Adelanto’s students.”