ACCS Votes 4-3 in Favor of Recommendation to Renew Oxford Prep

State Commissioners recognize “the overwhelming majority” of FCMAT issues have been addressed.

Corona, California – April 11 , 2017 Oxford Prep Chino Valley will move their appeal forward to the State Board of Education (SBE) with an unofficial nod of support from the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools (ACCS). Serving as an advisory body to the State Board, the ACCS conducts hearings to make recommendations based on information from charter petitioners, California Department of Education (CDE) staff, and local authorizers. While five votes are required by the ACCS to qualify as an official recommendation, the 4-3 vote in Oxford’s favor and the transcript of the public hearing will move out of the commission and on to the SBE for consideration in May.

A delegation of Oxford Prep stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, and Board members traveled to the Department of Education in Sacramento, to speak in support of Oxford’s renewal at the April 5, 2017, ACCS meeting. They were met by top brass from Chino Valley Unified School District, including four assistant superintendents and CVUSD legal counsel who spoke in opposition to extending the charter.

On January 31, 2017, Oxford Prep submitted an appeal to the State Board of Education seeking to overturn CVUSD’s denial of the charter’s renewal. A CDE review included findings from a November 2017, Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) audit. CDE staff released a recommendation for denial of Oxford’s appeal on Friday, March 31, 2017. Oxford Prep interim executive director and interim managing director immediately addressed the concerns identified by the CDE staff report with a nine page response document.

During the public hearing, Oxford stakeholders presented the case for renewal in hopes of gaining a positive recommendation from the ACCS to carry forward to the SBE vote. During the presentation, the petitioners articulated the comprehensive changes laid out in Oxford’s Recovery Plan, sharing that most of the changes have occurred in just the past four months, and almost immediately upon the release of the FCMAT findings in November 2016.

Oxford’s Board Chair shared key changes in the organization that have been implemented since reviewing the audit, including the removal and replacement of the entire board of directors, executive director, managing director, and management team. Following public comments, interim directors provided responses to the commissioners during the deliberation portion of the hearing.

I think what we are hearing collectively around this dais is the desire on the part of the school, the commitment on the part of the organization, to engage with somebody, a third party, and to bring that accountability forward. If I weren’t satisfied that the overwhelming majority of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Audit Team issues had been addressed, I wouldn’t be making the statement I am today.” –Caitlin O’Halloran, ACCS Commissioner

Commission Chairman Brian Bauer introduced a motion “that this school be recommended for renewal before the state board satisfying the requirement that’s been mentioned numerous times.” The motion passed 4-3 with commissioners Brian Bauer, Caitlin O’Halloran, Dr. Mark Ryan, and Wesley Sever in favor, and commissioners Cindy Chan, Curtis Washington, and Brian Gundry, opposed.