Contact: Luis Romo, AMPS (Amethod Public Schools), 510-436-0173 [email protected]
AMPS press release
The AMPS charter school system files legal complaint against West Contra Costa Unified School District The charter school system alleges that the West Contra Costa Unified School District was biased and explicitly discriminatory to Latino families.
Richmond, CA – May 4, 2020 – AMPS (Amethod Public Schools), a charter management organization that oversees three local charter schools in the city of Richmond plans to take legal action against the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) due to the board’s December 18 decision to adopt the District’s Staff Report for the Charter Renewal Review for John Henry High School.
The legal complaint alleges that the report was established upon a clearly erroneous standard of review; failed to comply with the mandate of California Education Code section 47607 mandating that a school district, “shall consider increases in pupil academic achievement for all groups of pupils served by the charter school as the most important factor in determining whether to grant a charter renewal”. The complaint further states that WCCUSD relied upon a series of findings that were factually unsupported and/or were impermissible bases for charter non-renewal.
Gabriela Rodriguez-Gutierrez, a founding parent and head of the AMPS Richmond Community Outreach Coalition says the families are tired of the discriminatory treatment that they have endured within WCCUSD, “Richmond is a community that has been suffering from dangerous and low performing schools for many decades. We finally have a high performing, free, public high school in the city, but instead of acknowledging the fact that this school sends over 90% of our kids to a 4 year college, the district instead treats us- the Latino community- with no consideration or dignity. The district should know that our community will not go quietly,” states Rodriguez-Gutierrez.
John Henry High School opened in 2015 and has continually outperformed the surrounding public schools within the West Contra Costa Unified School District in all areas including math, English and Science. “John Henry High School was just named one of the 2020 Best High Schools in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. It is absolutely ridiculous that WCCUSD voted to close one of the top performing schools in this community — a community that is composed primarily of Latino and African American families. They have suffered through dangerous, violent and low performing schools for generations. Now that we have a top performing school, they vote to close it down. The level of animosity, untruths, and hate is repulsive.” says Sylvia Flores, Principal, and Richmond resident. The school graduates 94% of its students compared to the WCCUSD graduation rate among neighboring public schools of 73%. Over 90% of JHHS graduating seniors are admitted to 4 year universities in comparison to the district rate of 27%.
AMPS filed a writ of mandate against WCCUSD seeking an automatic approval on May 8, 2020 as is legally required in accordance to the California Constitution (5 CCR 11966.4(c)), according to the complaint, or they will face a lawsuit alleging various actions which include erroneous standards of review, unsupported findings, a report that is based on impermissible basis for charter non-renewal, and racial and ethnic discrimination given the District’s repeated opposition to and targeting the school’s status as largely Hispanic/Latinx public school.
About AMPS (Amethod Public Schools) AMPS is a nonprofit charter management organization that partners with communities to offer great public school education to low income families. Founded in Oakland in 1994, AMPS has grown into a network of six campuses in underserved communities across the Bay Area. For more information, visit www.amethodschools.org.