LIVERMORE -- For the second time in 12 months, the Tri-Valley Learning Corp. has had its petition to open a third charter school rejected by the Livermore school board.

Based on the school district's recommendations, trustees voted 5-0 Tuesday to deny Tri-Valley's petition to open the Portola Academy K-8 school in fall 2013.

A report by the district's staff said the petition for Portola Academy lacked a clear description of its educational program; did not have clear plan to attract a racially and ethnically balanced student population; would not be able to successfully implement its programs; and questioned its financial plan.

"The second petition had minor changes from the first petition and we did not see any major changes," said Bill Dunlop, the board president. "Our position was they did not change any of the issues we had (with) the first petition."

Tri-Valley had its application for Portola Academy first denied by the district in October 2011 and then by the Alameda County Board of Education and the state Board of Education on July 19.

The state board voted 6-3 to deny the Portola Academy petition because of the following main points in the petition: that it didn't provide enough information on how the school will handle its proposed diverse and underserved population; its financial plan was overly optimistic; it did not provide the required number of signatures required by state law; its goals and student outcomes were subjective, noncommittal, not measurable and unlikely to be attained; its admission procedure policy did not meet state law; and its expulsion policy did not meet state law.


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Dunlop said it seemed that Tri-Valley Learning Corp. did not have enough time to "turn around" its petition for Portola Academy and noted that the state denied Portola Academy in July and that Tri-Valley Learning submitted the new petition in September.

"They didn't address the concerns," Dunlop said. "It was just a short amount of time."

Bill Batchelor, the chief operating officer of Tri-Valley Learning Corp., was not available for comment by deadline but said in earlier reports that Tri-Valley had addressed those concerns.

Tri-Valley can file an appeal with the Alameda County Board of Education.

The 8-year old charter organization had its two previous petitions for Livermore Valley Charter School, a K-8 school opened in 2005, and Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory high school, which made its debut in 2010, denied by the district and county before the state approved both applications.

A renewal petition for Livermore Valley Charter School was also submitted to the district on Tuesday. A decision on the renewal is expected by the end of the year, said Dunlop.

On Oct. 5, Tri-Valley Learning Corp. closed a deal for a $42 million, 20-acre campus located near Costco in Livermore, where it plans to relocate Livermore Valley Charter School by February. The campus will also include athletic fields for use by all of its campuses and the community.

To view the district recommendation to deny the Portola Academy petition, visit www.livermoreschools.com.