An educational Academy named after Albert Einstein opened its first elementary school at a former Pinecrest school in Santa Clarita, the third largest city in Los Angeles County, California. The Academy’s supporters held the ribbon cutting ceremony amidst a long-drawn legal battle.
Einstein Academy’s efforts to open an elementary school have managed to divide Santa Clarita Valley legislators, earn the ire of education officials in several counties. Some of the communities even filed several lawsuits from school districts.
The opening of the Albert Einstein Academy for the Letters, Arts, and Sciences — or AEALAS — is certainly a moral victory for parents, said Jeffrey Shapiro, executive director for Einstein Academy, at the elementary school’s opening.
“This is a victory for parents in this community who’ve been wanting this for many years. Everybody involved with Einstein does this because of our commitment and belief in the community and to education.”
However, education officials in three counties say AEALAS is ignoring the law, reportedSCV news. These officials accused the Albert Einstein Academy of exploiting the loopholes in the law to open the Academy while utilizing the counties resources. They claim that the Academy obtained permission to operate outside of the districts that previously denied their requests. As a result, San Diego, Ventura, and Los Angeles county officials have accused the school of ignoring their respective district’s concerns and usurping local control.
Speaking about the issue, Erin Evans, a legislative consultant hired to advocate for SB 1263, a bill authored by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, who represents portions of the Santa Clarita Valley, said:
“This particular charter school circumvented the law entirely by going to a neighboring school district. It’s sort of like if the LAPD policed the streets of Santa Clarita. The way we see it, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Speaking strictly from a legal standpoint, the Albert Einstein Academy has done nothing wrong. The move is entirely lawful under the state’s Education Code. However, Newhall School District officials said attempts by the cash-strapped AADUSD to site charter schools outside its own boundaries nullifies its constitutionally granted right to oversee public education within its boundaries.
AADUSD (Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District) has been consistently accused in the past of colluding with Albert Einstein Academy, and the county education officials have put several of AADUSD’s charter school approvals on hold. However, all the frozen approvals have been supported with concerns about the school district’s finances.
Keeping aside the legalities of the case, Albert Einstein Academy’s location is ideal for parents, as it allows much more involvement, shared Terry Collier, a parent with two children at the school’s new Pinecrest site. Incidentally, Einstein Academy is currently in the various stages of development of eight educational sites.
[Image Credit | Wikipedia]