Parents in the desert community of Adelanto have won a critical victory in their mission to take over Desert Trails Elementary School under the “parent trigger law.”
A San Bernardino County Superior Court judge has upheld a ruling that allowed the Desert Trails Parent Union to move forward with plans to convert the failing elementary school into a charter school.
The judge also ordered the Adelanto School District to halt efforts to stop the changeover. In August, district officials announced they would not relinquish control of the school.
Cynthia Ramirez, a lead petitioner and organizer of the Desert Trails Trigger movement, said she’s “thrilled and obviously really excited" with the judge’s ruling.
"This decision finally lets us move forward with voting on who we want to come in and take over the school" said Ramirez.
On Thursday, parents will vote to select a charter school operator for the 2013-14 school year.
The Desert Trails parents are the first in the nation to succeed in an effort to use a parent trigger law to take control of a failing school. They did it with help of Parent Revolution, the Los Angeles-based group that bankrolled the effort to wrest control of the public school from the district.
The two-year-old parent trigger legislation enables parents to force the conversion of a struggling traditional school into a charter, shut it down completely, or fire its staff. All they need is a petition that 51 percent of parents sign.
Doreen Diaz, whose daughter attends Desert Trails, said she and other parents were fed up by the school district's inability to turn around school’s abysmal test scores.
Twelve of Adelanto Unified’s 13 schools are failing. At Desert Trails, where Diaz’s daughter goes to school, only 32 percent of graduating sixth graders are proficient in math and English-language arts. The school's 2012 Academic Performance Index score is 699 - a 13 point drop from last year.