VICTORVILLE – Options for Youth (OFY) gained a victory when the Victor Valley Union High School District (VVUHSD) decided to “auto-renew” their charter agreement this week.
Around 150 teachers, students and parents all in support of OFY maintaining their Charter with VVUHSD met at a board meeting last month. Those who spoke, talked with passion about what OFY has done for them while school district officials explained why maintaining the charter would not be in the best interest of the VVUHSD.
“After the Victor Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees was split 2-2 in the previous vote regarding the Options for Youth-Victor Valley charter renewal, the district has chosen to continue its partnership with OFY-VV,” said VVUHSD Superintendent, Dr. Ron Williams. “The district will work closely with OFY-VV in the areas of academic programs, fiscal practices, governance and operations to ensure the success of all students.”
After the meeting, the board remained deadlocked and decided to revisit the matter at a later time. Approximately 2300 students, around 800 of those students within VVUHSD boundaries felt as though they were in limbo with no answers leaving them to wonder if they could continue their education at OFY.
Options for Youth Officials maintained the belief that they were being unfairly compared to other schools when the majority of the students entering OFY are in fact credit deficient. An OFY official said, “Our students are required to get a 70% or higher, indicating proficiency, in order to move on in the course. Students at traditional public schools are only required to receive a 60% in each mandatory class to earn a diploma.”
The charter agreement renewal announcement came as a victory, not only for the school staff but to students who did not fit into a regular non-charter school for one reason or another. “Students, parents, and staff have expressed nothing but relief since they heard the news,” said OFY Principal, Kathy Lento. “Many of our students wouldn’t graduate from high school or go on to college if it wasn’t for OFY. We’re thrilled to be able to continue providing OFY students the care and support they need to be successful in high school and beyond.”
A large portion of OFY students share stories of bullying or other school-related issues that in other schools may have caused them to give up. Kristan Cain-Luna, a 2016 graduate expressed the sentiment of many other OFY students by saying, “I finished because of them. Options for Youth was a great school for me.”
“We are pleased with the district’s decision to renew our charter. The district raised some concerns in their initial recommendation before the May vote,” said Jesus Franco, Assistant Superintendent for OFY, in a press release. “We have been working with the district to provide a response to their concerns and demonstrate our successes with our students. We appreciate the Superintendent’s willingness and openness toward resolving any perceived discrepancies and will continue to work closely with the district in addressing any further concerns,” says Jesus Franco, Assistant Superintendent for OFY.”
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