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Indigenous charter school not going down without a fight: Appeals closure to LA County

Parents protest L.A. Unified's decision not to renew charter license for indigenous high school.
Parents protest L.A. Unified's decision not to renew charter license for indigenous high school.
Fernando Ramirez, Semillas supporter

An El Sereno charter school, which was denied a 5-year charter license renewal by the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education in June, is presenting an appeal before the Los Angeles County Office of Education Tuesday. This is the first step in the process of trying to continue to operate as a charter.

Supporters of the Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory High School were outraged by L.A. Unified's decision on June 18 to close the school. It was the only one of dozens of charter schools to be denied a renewal at the June 18 board meeting.

The district's Charter School Division said the school was no longer viable because it was running a $600,000 deficit and its academic performance was poor. District officials also cited a consistent refusal by the school administration to provide necessary paperwork on time.

The school teaches an indigenous language, history and culture. Last year, it graduated 100% of its high school class, with 80% going on to a four-year university. Neighboring high schools graduated between 75-78% of seniors.

Commonly called by the name of its parent company, Semillas, the high school's API of 683 last year is well below the state goal of 800, but about in the middle for all schools in the state. Anahuacalmecac is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Parents and teachers were active in organizing to keep the school open, and are expected to be a strong presence at the hearing.

Principal Marcos Aguilar said he's confident his school will reopen for students. Should the county Office of Education approve the appeal, it will take over administering the school’s charter. The county agency said it will rule on Sept. 10