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Sycamore Creek Community Charter School to open at Oak View Elementary campus in H.B. this year

Students show artwork that would be done as part of Sycamore Creek Community Charter School’s program proposal.
Students show artwork that would be done as part of Sycamore Creek Community Charter School’s program proposal. The Orange County Board of Education approved the charter in March.
(File Photo)

Sycamore Creek Community Charter School will open on the Huntington Beach campus of Oak View Elementary School this year, following approval of a facilities agreement Tuesday.

The Ocean View School District will provide the charter with six rooms — five classrooms and one office — as well as exclusive access to a restroom building.

Playground areas and field space also have been allotted to Sycamore Creek and those students will have exclusive access to an outdoor eating area.

Charter school faculty will be able to use 11 parking spaces on the campus, at 17241 Oak Lane.

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The charter facilities agreement — which the Ocean View School District board approved unanimously during its meeting Tuesday — also states that Sycamore Creek students will have shared use of the school’s new gymnasium and one of its restrooms. The charter can use the gym for four, one-hour blocks each school week and up to three more hours a month for after-school events and meetings, to be scheduled in coordination with the district.

The district also will provide furniture and equipment and will be responsible for ongoing operations and regular or major maintenance of the rented facilities — including custodial and groundskeeping services.

Sycamore Creek will pay $7,747.20 per month for those services, the property and utility costs, with the exception of telephone and internet services that the charter will need to secure independently. The charter facilities agreement will be in effect starting Monday and expires on June 30.

No one from Sycamore Creek spoke at Tuesday night’s board meeting and charter school representatives were not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning.

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According to its website, Sycamore Creek is a tuition-free school that adheres to the core principles of public Waldorf education — a model that focuses on student creativity. It will enroll up to 192 students from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade in the coming school year.

As of Tuesday, the school was still receiving applicants and accepting them on a first-come, first-served basis.

The first day of school for Sycamore Creek and the rest of the Ocean View district is Sept. 4.

Approval of the facilities agreement follows a contentious review process for the school.

The charter twice petitioned to operate in the Ocean View School District — in October 2016 and last September. The district rejected both applications, with staff citing issues last year with Sycamore Creek’s “unsound” curriculum and staff qualifications.

Sycamore Creek appealed the latest denial to the Orange County Board of Education, which approved the charter in March.

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On Tuesday, Ocean View board member Jack Souders and Vice President Gina Clayton-Tarvin raised concerns about some of the district’s previous difficulties in working with Sycamore Creek.

The agreement between the district and Sycamore Creek comes after the charter previously requested facilities under state Proposition 39 that
would have required the district to provide facilities of reasonable equivalence to those provided to students in traditional public schools if Sycamore Creek had at least 80 prospective students living within the district’s boundaries.

The district had disputed the charter’s Proposition 39 eligibility because of a disagreement over its projected average daily attendance.

Ocean View Supt. Carol Hansen said Tuesday that the charter has an estimated total enrollment of 90 to 100 students, but that staff did not have an official record of how many Ocean View students would be attending this year.

“They needed to have 80 students to be able to trigger this Prop. 39 demand ... and now you’re telling me that they only have 90 to 100 total students and that they’re not 80 of ours,” Clayton-Tarvin said to Hansen — who confirmed that, to the best of her knowledge, the fledgling Sycamore Creek student body does not include 80 enrollees from the district.

“This is just outrageous,” Clayton-Tarvin continued. “This is precisely why I have been dead set against this group of people and this school and I sincerely hope that the community, or that we, stay on top of what is going on in the next year so that they don’t hoodwink our community again.”


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