An Alameda County judge says three top-ranked charter schools in Oakland may stay in business, for now, as they fight accusations of mismanagement.
On March 20, the Oakland Unified school board voted 4-3 to revoke their charters, after finding the schools had not done enough to correct past financial problems.
Yesterday's ruling allows the American Indian Model Schools to hold summer classes and plan for a fall session while they appeal.
The school's attorney Greg Moser said the court saw it differently.
"The judge agreed that the most important factor as federal and state law provide has to be, are the students succeeding," he told KQED's Rachel Dornhelm. "And the students at these school are, in fact, succeeding."
This 2009 video gives a sample of the style of AIMS controversial former director Ben Chavis:
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo granted the schools' request for a temporary restraining order against the school district, effectively ordering the district to keep the charter in effect.
The schools serve a primarily low-income population and have received national recognition for high test scores.
From Bay City News:
Grillo said at a hearing Thursday that he's concerned that the merits of the schools' appeal may not be heard "before it goes out of business" and he believes it would be irreparably harmed if it was closed now.
Grillo said American Indian Model Schools "appears to be functioning at a high level" and he thinks its students should be allowed to "do what students do, which is study" during the appellate process.
After Grillo ruled, [another attorney for the schools], James Kachmar, said, "We're ecstatic. This is about the students."
... He said at this point it's not clear if Grillo will rule on the merits of a lawsuit the schools filed against the Oakland Unified School District or wait until after the county board of education rules on the school's appeal.
During the hearing Thursday, Kachmar said the appellate process could be lengthy. He said the county board has until July 18 to act on the schools' appeal and if that board doesn't rule in favor of the school group it could then appeal to the state board of education, which would have another six months to act.
School district spokesman Troy Flint said the district believed that the appeals process should have been completed before the matter went to court.
"We felt that there's an established procedure for appeals and that a court ruling at this time didn't make sense but the judge felt differently," Flint said.
Flint said the school board voted to revoke American Indian Model School's charter "to protect the taxpayers" because the school abused the public's trust by misusing public funds.
He said financial improprieties at the schools have been documented by three different agencies.