Granada Hills South Neighborhood council on Thursday voted to endorse Granada Hills Charter's proposal to run Valley Region High School No. 4, better known to Giga Granada Hills readers as George W. Diddley High.
Of nine original applicants, the remainder dropped out or consolidated with what is now the only other applicant, LAUSD's Local District 1.
GHSNC member Brad Smith said, "From my point of view, based on GHCHS' track record and the detailed executive summary of their plan for VRHS#4 they have provided to the public, including their very strong fiscal record, GHCHS made a very compelling case. They have a very successful program, and I think the odds are in their favor they will be able to duplicate it at VRHS#4."
GHSNC member Julie Carson, who teachers at LAUSD's Rinaldi Adult Center and is that school's UTLA chapter chair, however, was the sole vote in favor of Local District 1's plan. "For me, there’s a larger issue here than choosing either GHCHS or LAUSD to run this school. It has to do with the whole idea of the school board’s Public School Choice initiative to giveaway schools to outside operators. Basically the school board has said 'We don’t know how to fix the schools, so here, you try.'" Carson feels that the solution to LAUSD's ills "isn't to turn every public school into a charter, but to make sure that the reforms and successes at charters take place in every LAUSD school."
Smith objected to the Local District 1 plan's lack of specifics. "The District, unlike GHCHS, has been unable to tell us who the faculty will be at VHRHS#4 if District 1 has the opportunity to manage the school, or lay out much of their plans for curriculum or their financials. Given that the school has been in the works for years, and the school choice plan came forward more than year ago from the school board, that is disconcerting."
However, the final decision will be made not by the Neighborhood Council but by the LAUSD board, after a recommendation by the superintendent of schools, sometime in January or February of 2011.