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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)

ANTIOCH -- The Antioch Unified school board next week will consider a petition by teachers at Dozier Libbey Medical High School to turn the health care-themed public school into a charter.

The meeting will be held 6 p.m. March 19 at John Muir Elementary, 615 Greystone Drive.

Teachers and the district issued statements Monday on their respective Web pages, showing where they stand on specific issues surrounding the school.

Opened in 2008, Dozier Libbey was Antioch's first venture in creating a school with a curriculum focused on a particular career field, rigor and workforce experience.

However, teachers say the initial vision of the school's founding committee has been diluted, and philosophical differences have emerged, said Jefferson Weber, a history and chemistry teacher.

The petition had signatures from 23 of the school's 26 teachers, or 88 percent. None of the teachers is opposed to a charter conversion, Weber said.

Antioch Unified released a three-page document Monday about frequently asked questions since the Feb. 24 petition, saying the petition came as a complete surprise.

According to the letter, the district says students would not be eligible to play on Antioch athletic teams or participate in extracurricular activities. It also addressed the school's "No D" policy, which Dozier teachers trumpet as a signature practice that helped it win state awards, since it allows students to retake classes and master them.


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The district, however, insists the policy puts kids at a disadvantage, particularly those who are struggling and African-American and English learner students.

"(The policy) also appears to foster an environment of exclusion, which is inconsistent with the district's mission of serving all students," according to the letter.

Dozier Libbey teachers say that are still working to communicate to school parents about the conversion proposal.

A public forum will also be held for parents and the community 6 p.m. Thursday at the Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way.

The teachers are mostly using social media and word-of-mouth, as Antioch Unified issued a cease-and-desist letter to the petitioners, restricting use of the school logo and school resources for information dissemination, including parent connection networks.

"It was reported to us by some parents that teachers were using instructional time to try and persuade students, along with equipment and resources," Superintendent Donald Gill said.

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.

If the Antioch board denies Dozier Libbey's petition, it can be appealed to the county and state boards of education.

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. March 19 at John Muir Elementary, 615 Greystone Drive.
To find out more about Dozier Libbey's charter school petition, go to www.antioch.k12.ca.us or www.facebook.com/dozierlibbey.