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Community Digest

Paramount : Adult School Independence Rejected by County Panel

March 25, 1993

A six-member panel of county educators rejected a bid by Paramount adult school teachers to break away from the school district.

The panel's unanimous vote last week essentially kills the Paramount Adult Education Center's petition drive, although teachers plan to meet next month to decide whether to begin their drive again.

Petitioners have been trying since November to become a state charter school, which would give the adult school financial and philosophical independence from the district.

The school board rejected the petition in February, calling it incomplete and vague, but the new state law allowed teachers to appeal to the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

County officials said Friday the Paramount appeal was the first to be heard in California.

The county panel could rule only on whether the district correctly followed the review process and acted fairly. The panel could not judge the worthiness of the petition itself.

"Technically, the district's process met the intent of the law," said Phillip D. Kauble, the county administrator who chaired the panel. "But there's nothing to say the petitioners can't start over."

Teacher Richard Benavides said teachers would meet April 1 to discuss renewing the petition drive, but admitted during the hearing that support for the charter school had waned since the district began dismissal proceedings against school Director Ed Quesada and Vice Principal Luther Martinez. The teachers believe the district attacked them to cripple the petition drive.

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