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Signatures On A ‘Parent Trigger’ Petition Debated In Adelanto

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ADELANTO (CBS) — A school board in Adelanto Wednesday night debated the signatures of a petition that would convert a school to a charter under the state’s so-called “parent trigger” law.

About 50 people attended the special meeting for the Adelanto School District Board, to discuss whether signatures gathered in January for the petition were valid.

“I was out there gathering signatures, so I know what efforts were put in and what was said and what wasn’t said,” Holly Odenbaugh said.

The petition effort aimed to give parents power to make Desert Trails Elementary the first in the nation to force major staff changes at an under-performing school or even convert such a campus to a charter school.

Last month the school board threw out several dozen signatures, declaring the petition 16 signatures shy of what needed.

Former state senator Gloria Romero authored the law, which passed in 2010.

“These are parents who are sick and tired of seeing their schools simply remain on a watch list. And with all good intents that may have come from this district, it hasn’t been enough,” Romero said.

Some of the signatures were declared invalid after parents, like Eleanor Medina, rescinded what they signed, saying they did not understand what they signed, especially the possibility of converting their school into a charter.

“They were going to just replace bathrooms, and fountain waters. They didn’t mention anything about charter,” she said.

The law requires parent signatures represent at least 50 percent, plus one, of the school’s students. But those who oppose the law said that may be hard to measure, because of population shifts brought on by recent foreclosures.

“We know that that was where so-and-so lived when they signed the petition, but so-and-so moved in just, even from March 6th. That’s only two, two and a half weeks ago,” said Lori Yuan.

A similar petition effort was gathered in Compton last year at McKinley Elementary, but signatures there were also thrown out. An appeal was ongoing.

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