ANTIOCH -- In yet another twist in the petition effort by teachers at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School to turn it into a charter school, Antioch Unified officials announced this week they have filed their own petition for the health care-themed public school.

The "dependent charter petition" was crafted in response to scores of concerns raised by district parents, teachers, administrators and staff following the Feb. 24 teacher petition, said Stephanie Anello, associate superintendent of educational services, at a meeting Monday night inside Dozier-Libbey's multipurpose room.

The merits of both petitions will be considered by trustees at a board meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday at John Muir Elementary, 615 Greystone Drive.

Students leave the campus of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch, Calif., Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Many of the teachers at the school signed a
Students leave the campus of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch, Calif., Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Many of the teachers at the school signed a petition for the school to become a charter school. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

The specter of Dozier-Libbey becoming a charter has created a ripple effect throughout the community of confusion, anxiety, strong opinions both for and against, and divisiveness between the petitioners and district.

As a "conversion charter," Dozier-Libbey would continue to operate as a public school but would be recognized as an independent entity and receive funding directly from the state. It would be run by a board of directors, led by an executive director, develop its own budget, hire teachers and decide whether to contract out services.

"The independent conversion charter reflects a policy of exclusion, while the dependent proposal is one of inclusion," Deer Valley High Principal Ken Gardner said at a news conference Tuesday.

The competing petition, submitted by Anello, Gardner and Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha, would keep Dozier-Libbey as a part of the Antioch district, allow its students to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, make enrollment of Antioch students a priority and keep the grading policy the same.

Grading is one of the issues the school's teachers have identified as a philosophical difference that has emerged the past few years. Teachers want to reinstate the "no D" policy while the district has said students should get the grades they earn. Some students prefer an F over a D, because it makes it easier to retake the class for a better grade.

"The (dependent charter) concept is pretty ridiculous," said Jefferson Weber, a Dozier-Libbey history teacher. "For the most part, they pretty much want to keep things the way they are. We really would not be gaining any autonomy at all."

The proposed dependent charter would also have a five-person executive committee, with two community members or parents selected by the district board that would allow for more input in decision making and school management, Anello said.

A major concern expressed by Dozier-Libbey parents at three public meetings last week was students being able to play sports.

Antioch and Deer Valley would not enter into a multischool team agreement with Dozier-Libbey for athletics if it is not in the district, Rocha said.

The district's proposal could also save jobs, as 29 teachers and 16 support staff members received pink slip notices, Rocha said.

Weber says the district continues to put out "disinformation" to try to confuse parents.

"We have confidence that our parents understand that and not be fooled by what they're putting out," he said.

A lengthy question-and-answer session followed the district presentation Monday, as several parents and students -- both from Dozier-Libbey and other district schools -- in the crowd of about 200 weighed in.



"I think there's still a lot more information we need to hear," said Paul Lindeman, parent of a Dozier-Libbey freshman.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

MORE INFORMATION
The hearing on Dozier-Libbey Medical High's charter petition will be held 6 p.m. Wednesday at John Muir Elementary, 615 Greystone Drive.
To find out more about both charter school petitions for Dozier-Libbey, go to www.antioch.k12.ca.us or www.facebook.com/dozierlibbey.