McKinley hearing off judicial calendar indefinitely
COMPTON—Parents of students at McKinley Elementary School petitioned the court for a temporary restraining order against the Compton Unified School District on Feb. 3, seeking to stop the District from requiring parents who signed a “Parrent Trigger” petition to verify their signatures in person.
A hearing was set for Feb. 24. The Bulletin has learned that the hearing did not take place and has been dropped from the court calendar indefinitely.
According to sources at the District, a response to the injunction was filed on Feb. 16. A reply from the parents was to be received on Feb. 18. That reply was not received. Instead, Parent Revolution attorneys representing the parents requested an update on the status of its lawsuit against the District on Feb. 3, claiming the civil rights of the parents and the students were being denied.
Apparently, it was unclear whether the matter was a class action lawsuit, in which case it would have been moved to a different court, a stay would have been granted on the temporary restraining order and the reply would not have been required.
At this point the matter will be reassigned.
Meanwhile, the District was to make a decision on a separate petition submitted by Celerity Educational Group for the establishment of a school in another location in the city. That petition is separate from the Parent Trigger petition, which also specifies Celerity as the operator they chose for the charter school at McKinley.
District officials have said that if it approves Celerity’s petition, McKinley parents will “get what they want.”
Parent Revolution, the organization that is working with parents on the effort to have McKinley converted to a charter school, has accused the District of making misleading statements.
“Parents want McKinley transformed into a Celerity school,” said Linda Serrato, a spokesperson for Parent Revolution. “While their backup plan has been to have Celerity open at another site nearby in case CUSD didn’t act in a timely manner or in case CUSD delayed the process by a full school year, they have consistently wanted to transform McKinley Elementary into a Celerity school. That is the only way the parents ‘get their way.’ Otherwise it’s CUSD, yet again, playing power games with the futures of children and the rights of parents.”
The District held an informational meeting on charter schools last week in preparation for the decision on the Celerity petition. To date, no charter school operator has ever been granted approval for the opening of a school in Compton.
The decision made on March 8 with regard to Celerity’s petition was not available as of press time.
“Regardless of what happens next with Celerity’s approval, the parents still have a lawsuit in court,” said Serrato. “In no way does the back-up solution mean that their case is moot. Their case is very much alive because of two simple facts: CUSD denied their right to petition and has been denying their children a right to an equitable education. CUSD is still due in court and the parents, their lawyers and we will still be pursuing this case until the parents receive a righteous verdict. These parents will not stop until they get what they have worked so hard for: their school transformed.”
The school district continues to maintain that Parent Revolution organized the petition drive in secret and that many parents were “intimidated” into signing it. “We still don’t see the support within the community for the petition,” said a source who requested anonymity. “Our effort to verify the signatures on the petition failed to identify more than 20 valid signatures.”