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District to buy unused school campus

By JULIE DRAKE Valley Press Staff Writer Jun 18, 2020

Palmdale School District will purchase the never opened two-year-old campus that was to be the new home of the now-closed The Guidance Charter School for $20 million.

Palmdale’s Board of Education voted 3-2 Tuesday night to purchase the property, at 3838 East Ave. R, with trustees Sharon Vega and Simone Zulu Diol dissenting.

The purchase is subject to approval of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The property is in receivership.

The Board has been in closed session negotiations to purchase the property for nearly one year.

Guidance Charter financed construction of the campus with state-authorized bonds. The $31.6 million high school campus on the 22.31-acre site was supposed to open in September 2018.

The District’s governing board denied the 17-year-old charter school’s petition to renew in Jan­u­ary 2018. Dis­trict staff said the school pre­sent­ed “an un­sound edu­ca­tional pro­gram.” District staff also ques­tioned the school’s finances re­lated to lease payments for the new campus.

Guidance Charter officials unsuccessfully appealed to the Los Angeles County and state Boards of education to save the school. The charter school, which had elementary and high school campuses, closed in June 2018.

Last year, the vacant unused campus drew the attention as the future home of the proposed Scholarship Prep Palmdale Charter School.

Scholarship Prep has three existing campuses in Oceanside, Santa Ana and the South Bay. The petitioners, including former State Sen. Gloria Romero and co-founder Jason Watts, sought to open a fourth campus in Palmdale.

Palmdale trustees unanimously denied the petition for the proposed Scholarship Prep Palmdale School last December. The county Board of Education upheld Palmdale School District’s denial in April.

Scholarship Prep’s petitioners reportedly appealed to the state Board of Education. With its chosen campus soon to be the property of Palmdale School District, it is not clear if it will move forward with the appeal. A spokesperson did not return an email seeking comment.

Original article appears in Antelope Valley Press

jdrake@avpress.com

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