On September 2, 2020 - Encore submitted our charter renewal petition to Hesperia Unified School District for a five year renewal term. HUSD has always been a great partner in the growth of Encore High School and we have loved being a part of the District.
With the introduction of 127 new State laws in January 2020 that affect charter schools, there has been a lot of growth that has happened with charter schools and school districts to be able to navigate uncharted territory, including charter renewal processes. This has been a time of turmoil for all academic institutions that are working through the updates. Compile this with a global pandemic and the pressure for the District and for Encore is incredible.
Today, the Hesperia Unified School District School Board is faced with three possible options - to approve Encore for five years, to conditionally approve Encore for five years, or deny Encore's charter petition. The approval would be that they agree with the terms of our charter renewal petition and we can move forward with implementing the new petition. A conditional renewal would allow Encore to continue to operate for the next petition time frame (five years), but an action plan would be devised that is mutually agreed upon between the District and Encore. A denial means that the District no longer wants to oversee Encore High School and then Encore would immediately appeal to San Bernardino County of Education.
Under the new law, Districts are faced with a difficult process of planning for oversight. As part of the renewal process, they must provide a staff analysis report at least 15 days prior to the vote so the charter school has an opportunity to respond. In that process, a lot can be lost in interpretation because a process that Encore has gone through three times with HUSD (including the initial petition) has now been hindered because lawyers and legal jargon can prohibit discussion and communication. The timelines in the middle of COVID-19 have also proven to be difficult during this process.
There has been back and forth between Encore and HUSD, but ultimately everything boils down to the vote today at 4 pm. Encore has reviewed the staff analysis, provided over 3700 pages of documentation and clarifying information, and are now hoping for the best. In today's meeting, I am hoping that we can get a conditional renewal from HUSD. With a conditional renewal, Encore plans to hire a third party consultant (preferably a retired superintendent) that can act as a trainer, a consultant, and a liaison between Encore and HUSD. This person would help us set the conditions for the MOU with HUSD and would help provide professional development for Encore's administration. They would provide a monthly report to Encore's Board and Encore's Board would share this information with the school district. I think that this is a viable solution for helping both parties speak the same language. Both sides have been working very hard on this renewal.
Should the vote be in our favor, Encore would be renewed for the next five year term. Encore is a middle tier school academically as designated by the state of California, so a five year term is the longest term available.
Should the vote not be in our favor, Encore will submit an appeal at the county as soon as reasonable. Encore would remain open through the end of the school year and the appeal process. Encore has two opportunities for appeal at the county and state level.
As parents and students, we invite you to write to the school board and share your positive experiences with them. I know that COVID-19 has been a beast, but I do believe that our Encore family has weathered the storm the best we can. We believe in our kids, we believe in our staff, and we believe in Encore.
Hesperia Unified School District Board
Eric Swanson firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Gomez email@example.com
Cody Gregg firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Dundon email@example.com
Marcy Kittinger firstname.lastname@example.org
Hesperia Unified School District Superintendent
David Olney email@example.com
I thank all of you for your support and your ongoing input on the constant journey of improvement at Encore. We appreciate all of you and are working diligently to continue our relationship with HUSD.
Thank you for your support.