ANTIOCH -- After another series of emotional pleas from scores of parents and students but not enough data to make a decision, Antioch school trustees decided this week to table for two weeks RAAMP Charter Academy's renewal bid.
After vetting the staff's analysis Wednesday and at the request of trustee Diane Gibson-Gray, the board asked RAAMP officials if they would extend the deadline for a decision to April 9.
"I'm just not comfortable with tonight. I'm a data-driven person and we do need data to drive the decision," Gibson-Gray said.
After a 15-minute recess, both parties agreed.
RAAMP Executive Director Karla Branch said she would be able to provide data breaking down student test scores for the site, including by subgroup. Gibson-Gray said she wanted to be sure it matches up with district figures.
Branch added the board should consider the state's warning in looking at test scores with low student population and large changes in student turnover, as both apply to RAAMP.
The district staff is recommending denial of the charter's renewal, saying it does not meet the state's threshold for improving academic performance.
RAAMP, which opened in 2009 and serves 138 students, was created to help at-risk students, mainly African-American students, catch up academically with their peers. Parents lauded the school's program for the one-on-one attention students receive, small class sizes, the presence of male role models and extended staff hours, including academic schooling on Saturday.
In December, the California Charter Schools Association called for RAAMP's closure for falling below its minimum criteria for renewal based on low standardized test scores. The Charter Schools Development Center, another advocacy group for charter schools, said that rationale is unsound because it is based on a testing criteria the state is doing away with.
Questions that arose during the meeting include if RAAMP should become a dependent charter, if it should be given a renewal shorter than five years, and if there are plans in place for the students if the board moves ahead and denies the charter.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.