Adelanto Board Rejects Trigger Law Petition Again

In a somewhat unsurprising and anticlimactic move, the Adelanto School District board has again rejected the petition trying to invoke a 2010 state law that permit parents to seize control of low-performing schools.

“Our children are much too precious to turn them over to groups that have no track record of proven success,” said Lanita Dominque, a teacher and president of the Adelanto District Teachers Association.

The parents, supported by Parent Revolution, had hoped to use the ‘trigger law’ to convert the failing Desert Trails Elementary School into a charter school. After years of weak academic performance the school, where the pass rate for reading and math tests is less than 50%, they want to use the advantages of charter schools to start turning things around. The parents believe that having the ability to hire non-union teachers and renegotiate the contract with the union will help Desert Trails. They had already had their petition rejected once for allegedly failing to meet the minimum 50% threshold of valid signatures, and the latest meeting was essentially a repeat of that event.

The petition drive has been fraught with acrimony as the two sides accused each other of fraud and forgery in trying to meet the 50-percent threshold or in presenting rescission affidavits from parents who claimed they were misled into initially giving their support.

“I could care less if I don’t get elected to office again, but today I stand for all of Adelanto in saying we will not be duped by anybody,” school board member Jermaine Wright said in explaining her vote against the petition.

Parent Revolution, however, claims that supporters had collected valid signatures from around 70% of parents and have vowed to challenge the board’s unanimous rejection of their petition in court.

As initially predicted, the Adelanto test case for the ‘trigger law’ looks set to join the one involving Compton’s McKinley Elementary School and be decided by the judiciary. The cases will likely determine the future not only for the schools in question, but the ‘trigger law’ concept nationwide as several other states look set to consider similar legislation to California later this year.