Click photo to enlarge
Students leave the campus of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch, Calif., Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Many of the teachers at the school signed a petition for the school to become a charter school. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

ANTIOCH -- The deadline for students and teachers to decide if they want to be a part of the newly created Dozier-Libbey Medical High School dependent charter has been pushed back until later this month.

Students were originally told that they had until Monday to decide while Dozier teachers were to notify Antioch Unified of their wishes by Friday. But, in the latest twist in the dueling petition efforts for the medical high school, supporters of an independent charter high school last week filed a temporary restraining order against the Antioch school district's efforts to turn it into a dependent charter.

A hearing date has been set for April 28 in Contra Costa Superior Court.

Meanwhile, district-set deadlines for teachers and students to apply to the dependent charter were postponed until after that court date.

The court action is the latest in a rancorous issue that started when 23 of 26 Dozier-Libbey teachers submitted a petition Feb. 24 to turn the medical-themed magnet school into an independent charter. It would remain a public school run by a board of directors and be able to develop its own budget, hire teachers and decide whether to contract out services.

Citing community concerns, Antioch Unified administrators filed a counter petition on March 17 to keep Dozier-Libbey as a dependent charter under the auspices of the district.

Antioch trustees voted two days later to deny the independent petition and approve the dependent charter.

Proponents of the independent charter filed an appeal of that decision to the county's board of education on March 27.

Both sides continue to assert that the other is sending out misinformation.

The restraining order is meant to put the brakes on Antioch Unified from rolling forward with a dependent charter, according to the complaint filed Friday.

"The district is rushing to complete its unlawful conversion of the school in hopes of defeating the teachers' efforts. The district's actions are causing irreparable harm and great anxiety among the students, parents, teachers and community," according to a complaint filed Friday in Contra Costa Superior Court.

Stephanie Anello, associate superintendent of educational services, said Monday that a lot of planning goes into opening a new school, and the district wanted to give assurances to parents about having a place.

"The judge had absolutely no time to review it, and asked us if we would be amenable to moving it. We said absolutely," Anello said.

In a news release, the petitioners called the court's decision "a minor victory."

State law says that school districts are required to make final layoff decisions by May 15.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

MORE INFORMATION
To see the charter school petitions for Dozier-Libbey, go to www.antioch.k12.ca.us or www.dozierlibbeycharter.com.