Excelsior Becomes First Countywide Charter

With a unanimous vote from the San Bernardino County Board of Education on Monday, Excelsior Charter Schools became the first independent charter school to have a countywide role.

It’s only the second charter school to gain county approval, joining Norton Science and Language Academy in San Bernardino.

The board’s decision on Excelsior came during its regular meeting Monday afternoon, after conditional approval in June.

Excelsior, which has six locations, sought to become a countywide charter as a solution to a decision that the California Supreme Court let stand in 2016. The ruling restricted “nonclassroom-based” charters like Excelsior to operate resource centers only within the boundaries of their authorizing district — in Excelsior’s case, Victor Valley Union High School District.

Two months later the county board unanimously agreed that — with some amendments made — Excelsior had met requirements to their satisfaction.

According to Excelsior Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Dr. Derek King, most of the changes “were just language.”

“Language that narrows (Education Code) … Language so they fully understand their boundaries of their oversight,” King said. “There’s no material difference between what we’re doing now and what we’ll be doing under the county … We already adhere to full transparency … We’re already self-regulated to make sure we were doing above and beyond for students and families.”

During the June meeting, County Board President Sherman Garnett commented on “the fact” that Excelsior had “an outstanding program in the Victor Valley,” despite their usage of homework packets which he previously mentioned the county office doesn’t “believe in.”

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