The pitched battle over the “parent trigger” campaign in the Adelanto School District is over. On Tuesday, the school board in the Mojave Desert town unanimously approved the parents-led conversion of Desert Trails Elementary to a charter school, marking the first successful use of the state Parent Empowerment Act of 2010. That law permits a majority of parents who sign a petition at a low-performing school to demand a restructuring option, including bringing in a charter school operator.
The 4-0 vote to turn the school over to LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy, a high-scoring charter (911 API) in nearby Hesperia, was a sharp turnabout. The board had twice has rejected the parents’ petition, and opposition parents, backed by teachers, had organized a counter campaign. But a court ordered the petition to move forward, and in November, voters ousted two “parent trigger” opponents on the board and elected a member of the Desert Trails Parents Union. Now, instead of having to return to court or appeal an anticipated rejection – a process that would have jeopardized a fall 2013 opening – LaVerne Elementary will have six months of lead time.
A writer for the Hechinger Report at the meeting reported that the vote was quick and supportive of LaVerne Elementary, where students read classical literature and study Latin and music.
“The board members’ votes were not begrudging,” said Ben Austin, executive director of Parent Revolution, a nonprofit that organizes “parent trigger” campaigns. “ As contentious and gut-wrenching as it’s been, last night’s vote marked new collaborative chapter.”