school officials will need to close a campus or relocate a large number of students next year to accommodate three charter schools that want access to district classrooms.
In addition to Oxford Preparatory Academy, a K-8 school that currently shares space with with in Mission Viejo, the district has received requests from two other charters, and Journey School, for free access to school district facilities.
Under voter-approved Proposition 39, school districts must make classrooms available to charters that serve district students.
Charter schools are public schools. The vast majority of students at these campuses come from other Capo Unified schools.
Oxford is pushing to , but even if the request is rejected, the district may be forced to close a school, according to a staff report to be discussed at Wednesday’s Capistrano Unified school board meeting.
“Oxford Preparatory Academy’s eligibility for facilities remains an issue and they are entitled to receive facilities under Proposition 39 regardless of the outcome” of the leadership’s request to expand from 628 to 772 students, says a staff report on where to house Oxford students next year.
“The need to close a school or relocate a portion of a school will be the case under either enrollment scenario,” the report states.
The report does not make clear whether Barcelona Hills might be the school to close. And a spokesman for Capo Unified declined to answer Patch's questions about the matter.
District staff is recommending against Oxford’s plan to increase enrollment. In a 10-page report, it derided the charter school bid for lacking teacher signatures and analysis of facilities, staffing or finances. It also notes that it is too early to determine whether the school offers a successful educational model.
The report is peppered with repeated variations on the words “concerned” (14 mentions), “unlikely” (nine mentions) and “fail” (also nine mentions).
But even if the school board agrees and rejects expansion at Oxford, the charter school has the right to enroll an average daily attendance of 501 students. This would be more than the number of students who attend the charter school today, as Oxford voluntarily reduced enrollment last year to .
When the school board approved the campus-share configuration in June, it envisioned the charter occupying 13 classrooms. Wednesday’s report says Oxford will use 21 classrooms if the expansion request is approved, and 17 if it is not.
However, maps attached to the report conflict with those numbers. They show Oxford using 25 classrooms if the charter is allowed to expand, leaving just two classrooms. If trustees reject the expansion, the maps show Oxford taking up 21 classrooms, leaving six classrooms for other district uses.
Although the district has the right to split Oxford into two schools -- elementary and middle -- staffers have chosen to keep the K-8 model Oxford requested. And although the charter’s first months “,” staff recommends Oxford remain at Barcelona Hills.
The school board meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at district headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.