Still determined to open doors to students, charter school organizers may look beyond Glendale

Organizers working to open a charter school in Glendale announced they are “not giving up” even as the possibility to open the school’s doors this fall has become “very unlikely,” according to the school’s newsletter that was sent to subscribers on Tuesday.

The development team for the International Studies Language Academy, or ILSA, has not yet found a facility in Glendale to house the school, which would offer dual-language immersion courses in German, Spanish, Italian and French.

During the past few months, the school’s negotiations with one local facility fell through, according to the newsletter.

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In 2015 and 2016, the Glendale Unified School Board and the Los Angeles County Board of Education denied a petition to operate the charter school in Glendale Unified’s boundaries.

The State Board of Education subsequently granted approval of the petition on appeal, but it came with the requirement that the academy operate within the Jewel City.

“We are mandated to find a location within the boundaries of Glendale Unified School District, which has proven to be a daunting task with the limited inventory of potential sites and restrictive zoning requirements in the city,” the newsletter states.

A recent request by ISLA to use Glendale Unified’s facilities under Prop. 39 was denied by the school board last month, with school officials describing the charter school’s application as “faulty.”

“While these factors make the possibility of opening this fall very unlikely, our commitment hasn’t wavered,” according to the newsletter.

ISLA’s organizers are now considering submitting a petition to the Los Angeles Unified School District to operate within that district’s borders.

“This is promising for many reasons, one of which would be the relative ease in finding a site. We would still seek to locate in the same general geographic area, but Los Angeles has greater inventory, and zoning ordinances which are friendlier for schools,” the newsletter states.

Members of the team, which calls itself the ISLA Development Team, also ask their newsletter subscribers for support, should they draft a new petition to locate their school in Los Angeles Unified.

“Of course, this option would mean undergoing the petitioning process with LAUSD, but we believe this would be worth pursuing, and hope that we can count on your continued support with this new petition,” according to the newsletter.

Guendalina Ajello Mahler, a member of the charter school’s board, declined to provide any further comment or confirmation of when the organizers might petition Los Angeles Unified.

To read the article in Spanish, click here


Kelly Corrigan,

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan