CONCORD — After hearing from nearly 40 parents, principals, teachers and others speaking for and against converting Clayton Valley High to a charter school, trustees on Tuesday voted 4-1 to deny the petition.
Trustee Cheryl Hansen said she did not think people should be afraid of change and was the lone vote against denial.
Trustee Linda Mayo said her vote to deny the petition was based on staff's analysis that the school's financial plan was unrealistic and the educational program was not innovative.
Board President Gary Eberhart and Trustee Sherry Whitmarsh did not express any opinions about the charter before voting to deny the petition.
Before the vote, Hansen and Trustee Lynne Dennler voted to approve the charter without conditions. That motion was defeated.
Dennler said the district needs to examine why the Clayton Valley community wants to sever its relationship with the district.
Several charter supporters disputed the district's financial analysis, saying the numbers could be corrected to show that the school would be fiscally sound. But many principals, parents and students spoke against the charter because it could take money away from other schools.
The district has said trustees would need to cut about $1.8 million from the budget if the charter were approved, because it would have to fund the school at a higher rate than the revenues it receives for Clayton Valley High students. The board cannot legally consider the financial effect on the rest of the district in its decision, however.
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, plans to propose legislation that would allow school boards to consider the financial implications in their decisions to approve or deny such petitions, said Mark Herbert, Bonilla's district director.
Clayton Valley High teacher Neil McChesney said the charter committee would appeal to the County Board of Education in the next few days. The county would have 60 days to hold a public hearing, he said.
McChesney and other charter organizers are continuing plans to open the school as a charter in the fall, hoping to receive approval from either the county or state Board of Education,