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Riverside County school board rejects charter school pitch

By in Press Enterprise on January 1, 2018

By Craig Shultz

An effort by REAL Journey Academies to open a countywide charter school has failed.

The entity, which operates four school sites in Riverside and San Bernardino counties sought to open iEmpire Academy, which would have been aimed at students who need intense help in English and math literacy, according to the petition.

But its pitch was recently rejected by the Riverside County School Board.

The charter didn’t meet the needed requirements, a Riverside County Office of Education report states. County education officials’ concerns included the budget, special education program and the need to be countywide instead of local, as most charters are.

“In light of the findings … the petition presents an unsound educational program for the pupils to be enrolled in the charter school,” the report states.

Efforts Friday, Dec. 29, to reach proponents of the charter school were unsuccessful.

The board voted 4-3 against the proposal, with Susan Rainey, Jeanie Corral, Wendel Tucker and Ray Curtis voting to reject and Bruce Dennis, Elizabeth Romero and Barbara Hale voting in favor.

County school board members are elected by region, with each trustee representing three to five school districts.

REAL Journey Academies currently runs New Vision Middle School and Excel Prep Charter School in San Bernardino as well as independent study learning centers Excel Prep Academy in Moreno Valley and Success Academy in Fontana. It plans to open Entrepreneur High School in San Bernadino in August.

The organization educates 1,200 students in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to a presentation to the school board.

The new school, iEmpire Academy, proposed to serve students from kindergarten through eighth grade using a model called Success For All. The program is aimed at students in disadvantaged communities, especially those learning English.

The plan was for iEmpire Academy to create two clusters of schools over the next 10 years — […]    

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