CUSD governing board denies charter school petition

Susan K. Hatmaker discusses the CGA charter school petition at the CUSD Governing board meeting Feb. 5, 2020. (Michael Ford/Clovis Roundup)

The Clovis Unified School District Governing Board voted at its Wednesday meeting to deny a charter petition that would have established a new charter school in Clovis for a five-year period.

Lead petitioners Alfredo Cuellar and Harmit Singh Juneja submitted the petition Nov. 12 stating that Clovis Global Academy (CGA) would operate the school.

Based on the petition, CGA anticipated serving students in transitional kindergarten through 8th grade. CGA expected to commence school on Aug. 17, 2020 with an anticipated student enrollment of 239 students in the first year, 2020 – 2021, in transitional kindergarten through 5th grade, according to the school board’s meeting agenda.

The decision comes on the heels of a District staff report that recommended the governing board deny the petition based on findings that the petitioners were demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition and that the petition did not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of certain elements required under a segment of the district’s Education Code.

Board member Susan K. Hatmaker suggested that the petitioners could amend the petition to address those issues, including the school’s financial viability and ability to sustain for the five-year period.

“I do believe that Clovis Global Academy can take those concerns, review them, better their petition, make some changes and review the [District report], make some constructive changes to their budget and come up with a contingency plan.”

Before the vote, the board also debated whether adjusting the length of time that the school be initially open to 2-3 years to give the body time to assess its financial status before extending the agreement to five years and beyond.

However, the board decided that the uncertainty of financial solvency was too great to justifiably approve the petition.

Michael graduated from Fresno State in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism. During his time at the university, he served as sports and managing editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper. In addition to the Clovis Roundup, Michael has written for The Fresno Bee, the Kingsburg Recorder and Selma Enterprise. He has a passion for sports and can be found on the sidelines at local games, bringing the citizens of Clovis the athletics news they deserve.