At its March 11-12 meeting the State Board of Education considered whether to approve a petition for the operation of a charter school known as the Western Sierra Collegiate Academy.
The board heard this matter on Wednesday March 11, and when it initially voted on the petition it failed to receive the necessary number of votes for approval. At that point, the state board intended to take up the matter for further consideration at its May meeting. The vote was four members in favor and three against. It takes a vote of six members of the state board to approve a charter school petition.
Immediately upon adjournment of the meeting, staff alerted board President Mitchell of the fact that if the board did not act on this charter school petition prior to the March deadline for submitting facilities requests under Proposition 39, that the charter school, in the event that it received approval from the state board in May, would have missed the deadline for requesting those facilities. Consequently, when the meeting resumed on Thursday, President Mitchell urged the board to reconsider its vote on the matter.
Counsel for the board advised the board that in order to take it up for reconsideration, that the board needed to make a formal motion for reconsideration, which had to be made by the prevailing party on the prior vote. Member Williams, who had been on the prevailing side in the prior vote made the motion and it was seconded by Member Chan. CDE staff contacted the Rocklin School District, the county, the charter petitioners, and other interest groups and advised them that the board was expected to reconsider its vote on this matter in the afternoon.
When the board reconvened after lunch, counsel gave the board further advice on the rules related to a motion for reconsideration and explained, among other things, that the motion for reconsideration was a reconsideration of the vote on exactly the same motion that had been before the board on Wednesday and that it was not a reopening of the hearing that had been held on the matter on Wednesday. It was simply an opportunity that is provided under Robert’s Rules of Order for the board to reconsider a prior vote on a motion that was before it at that same meeting.
The board had further deliberation and voted again on the same motion that had been presented to it on Wednesday. This time the resulting vote was 7 members in favor of approving the petition and one member against.