Magnolia Science Academy is without a doubt a Gulen Managed charter school

The Gulen Movement is fantastic at advertising, PR, and bestwowing fake honors on their students, politicians, local media and academia. The Parents4Magnolia blog is NOT American parents it is members of the Gulen Movement in damage control mode. Magnolia Science Academy, Pacific Technology School and Bay Area Technology is the name of their California schools. They are under several Gulen NGOs: Pacifica Institute, Willow Education, Magnolia Educaiton Foundation, Accord Institute, Bay Area Cultural Connection. Hizmet aka Gulen Movement will shamelessly act like satisifed American parents or students. They will lie, cajole, manipulate, bribe, blackmail, threaten, intimidate to get their way which is to expand the Gulen charter schools. If this doesn't work they play victim and cry "islamophobia". Beware of the Gulen propagandists and Gulen owned media outlets. DISCLAIMER: if you find some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship which has filed fake copyright infringement complaints to Utube

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Santa Clara County says NO to New Magnolia Charter School - Silicon Valley STEM Academy (SVSA)

County Says No to New Magnolia Charter Plan
They say "third time is a charm." But at last week's Santa Clara County Board of Education meetingno charmwas able to overcome the flaws in Magnolia Science Academy's proposal for reconstituting itself as a new charter school, Silicon Valley STEM Academy (SVSA) – despite the crowd of about 500 filling the County boardroom and cafeteria to overflowing, protesting what they saw as Santa Clara Unified's unwarranted shutdown of their school.

The many speakers arguing that Magnolia shouldn't be closed only confused the issue.The hearing's purpose was considering the proposal for the new charter, not continuing Magnolia's;which in any case isn't being closed. Its lease with SCUSD for the Central Park school is expiring, and the County Board has no role in district contracts. When it was signed, Magnolia was told it was likely the district wouldn't renew it because, as turns out to be the case, the school is needed to relieve over–crowding at other SCUSD schools, and the district plans to reopen it for the 2016–2017 school year.

The County Board unanimously denied SVSA'spetition for the same reasons that SCUSD did when Magnolia/SVSA presented the identical proposal in January: that "The petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition." The reasons include inadequate financial plans, identification of start–up funds,and description of the school's K–5 program(Magnolia is grades 6–12). Further, because in its three presentations Magnolia made such a point of its high–achieving students, Board members expressed skepticism that SVSA could meet legal requirements to serve students at all ability levels. Board President Leon Beauchmanalso said that the fact that none of the students who spoke had been at Magnolia more than two years gave him "an uncomfortable feeling about the viability of the school in its current configuration. "It's difficult for us to separate Magnolia from the STEM Academy," he said. "A lot of the petition cites Magnolia as a reason to approve [SVSA]. I would remind folks that the charter law gives preference to schools targeting underperforming students. What that means is you have a higher bar." Because Magnolia is a county charter school, the district isn't obliged to provide facilities unless more than half its students are SCUSD residents. The district gets $500,000 in lease payments, but must give Magnolia $1.2 million for the Santa Clara students that attend.

Shortly after the school's request to extend the lease was refused last June,Magnolia administration and parents presented aproposal for a district charter, SVSA. When this SCUSD turned it down, Magnolia took its petition to the County Board. In 2008, Magnolia wanted a county charter "to facilitate the provision of instruction in a multi–site setting ... As schools of choice, Magnolia Foundation schools enroll students from wide residence areas ... [and] from many different school districts, private schools and home–schooling families." SVSA's proposal is to enroll mainly SCUSD students. "From the get–go you came to us and said Magnolia was going to be county–wide and acted like a [county] destination charter," said Board Member Anna Song. That made it difficult to reconcile the new positioning as a district school. "Now today we're being asked to consider a petition for a new school, the STEM Academy. "We're coming back again and again to Magnolia," she continued, referring to the fact that Magnolia has needed emergency help more than once. "They said they didn't need Prop 31 [district facilities], they had sites lined up. When this contract was signed it was clear there was no opportunity to extend. It would have been much better to come to us a year ago as Magnolia and ask us for help. [Now] you comein the 11th hour. I would like to see this succeed. But to do that, you have to be more transparent." Magnolia's Chief Growth Officer, Frank Gonzalez, who's been on the job two months, said Magnolia has asked for classrooms in Milpitas, Sunnyvale, and had contacted private schools for space. "I'm up here two, three days a week. [One problem is] the high cost of real estate here. I have been meeting with Stan Rose [SCUSD Superintendent] to submit a [request for a lease] extension.

All Magnolia is asking is a year's extension." One reason for the County Board's concern – and one reason why Magnolia principal Yilmaz Ak may be seeking to disconnect from the Magnolia Public Schools (MPS) organization – is the closure of two Magnolia schools last June by Los Angeles Unified after an audit uncovered financial mismanagement. The audit found thatMPSwas insolvent; with some schools operating at a deficit and profitable schools lending money to the parent organization. In addition, auditors found that MPS paid $200,000 for non–employees' immigration fees and lawyers. MPS also paid a company with interlocked board membership, Accord Institute, a third of its budget for services overlapping its own operations. MPS disputes these claimsand recently hired a new CEO.

As a result of the LAUSD audit, the California State Auditor launched a statewide audit of the Magnolia Education and Research Foundation (MERF) and Magnolia Science Academies, expected to be complete in May. Magnolia Santa Clara got its start in 2008 under the auspices of MERF as part of a chain of more than 100 U.S. charter schools, widely believed to have ties to a wealthy Turkish theologian and media mogul, Fethullah Gulen, who lives in seclusion in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Gulen is founder of a modernist, largely philosophical variant of Islam, sometimes called Hizmet ("service"); emphasizing education and tolerance in a civil society. He's a political enemy of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who tried unsuccessfully to extradite Gulen. Gulen–linked schools have predominantly Turkish staffs and offer Turkish language classes and cultural events.

The schools are sometimes accused of being training grounds for a Gulen fifth column –– much as Catholic schools a century ago were believed by some to be training grounds for a Vatican fifth column.

1. March 2009: Santa Clara County Board of Education approves the charter petition for Magnolia Science Academy-Santa Clara, a countywide charter. The charter was approved for a three-year period (July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010). The school did not open as planned in fall 2009. In early 2010, the charter was revised.
2. Fall 2010: Magnolia opens MSA-Santa Clara at a site in Sunnyvale (1095 Dunford Way). This is the first of three charter schools for which a 3-year charter was granted to them by the board of the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE).
3. Fall 2012: MSA-Santa Clara moves into the campus at 2720 Sonoma Place in Santa Clara which belongs to Santa Clara Unified. This site was the longtime home to a historically important Santa Clara school, John Millikin Elementary School. The lease agreement is for three years only: 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 (exp. June).
4. Jan. 2013: SCCOE grants a five-year renewal to Magnolia despite the district finding it has a negative cash flow, poor fiscal accounting and a problem with internal controls. Anna Song is the only trustee who dissented. Also, Magnolia never opened its promised other two charter schools in Santa Clara County.
5. May 2013: SCCOE issues a Notice of Concern to MSA-Santa Clara, citing "failure to meet generally accepted accounting principals." pdf
6. June 2014: With MSA-SC's lease due to expire at the end of 2014-15, Magnolia makes its first request to Santa Clara Unified for a lease extension. It is denied.
7. Oct. 2014: Petition for a totally brand new charter school, the STEM Academy of Silicon Valley (SASV), was submitted to Santa Clara Unified. Seeing the writing on the wall (that MSA-SC will have to close if it cannot get its lease extended or find another site) -- and with the Magnolia organization in turmoil in LAUSD, etc. -- principal Yilmaz Ak and a group of individuals attempt to open a brand new charter school for 2015-16. Supposedly this school would not be operated by Magnolia, but it clearly would be a reconstituted version of MSA-SC that could enroll its soon-to-be-school-siteless student body. Clearly they did this with the hope that the new charter school would qualify for a Santa Clara Unified site under Prop 39. And/or maybe they could have qualified for some start-up grant that would help them lease a space.
8. Jan. 2015: The SCUSD board unanimously votes against the SASV proposal.
  9. Feb 2015: SCCOE hearing on SASV (at some point Yilmaz Ak, et al, submitted the same proposal to the Santa Clara County authorizer)..
10. Mar. 4, 2015: Yilmaz Ak submits letter to SCCOE urging them to call a special meeting to decide on SASV asap. He explains that he has applied for Prop 39 facilities and must have the charter approved by March 15th. He closes the letter with, "I would like to avoid having to turn to the courts to settle this issue."
11. March 6, 2015: For the 3rd time, the Magnolia community comes to a Santa Clara Unified meeting to try to persuade the school board to extend their lease for the campus on Sonoma Place (sometimes called the "Central Park" site).
12. March 11, 2015: SASV was unanimously denied its charter application by the board of SCCOE. 13. March 17, 2015: Magnolia CEO Caprice Young comes up to the Bay Area. Holds a town hall meeting w/MSA-SC families and meets with and/or threatens who knows?

Magnolia Science Academies saved by the bell from closure

After the removal of all Gulen Movement people in their administration at Magnolia, the new helm of the schools Caprice Young has convinced the LAUSD to continue with the schools and renew the 3 schools that were scheduled to be closed. However the statewide audit will continue. What is the story behind the story?
The largest chain of privately managed charter schools in the United States is that of those affiliated with the cultish Gülenist Movement. Proving that no scandal is too large for the combined financial and political power of the revenue hungry charter school industry, the Los Angeles based Magnolia branches of the Gülen Network have essentially committed the crime, but will not do the time. The Los Angeles Times outlines the scale of Magnolia's crimes: "An audit performed last year for the district’s Office of the Inspector General found that Magnolia was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency. The Palms academy also was insolvent, the audit found." One cringes thinking of all the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) public school libraries that could have been reopened with those millions "missing" from the privately managed Magnolia Gülen Charters. Last time millions of dollars went "missing" from a huge Los Angeles charter chain was during the massive Inner City Education Fund (ICEF) scandal. Their former "CEO" Mike Piscal is still at large somewhere in the country. Steve Poizner's partner in the crime of establishing the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), Caprice Young, was brought in as the spin-spokesperson for that staggering squandering of taxpayer money. Once more Young is brought in to provide cover for mind-boggling charter school impropriety, this time at Magnolia. Turns out Caprice Young has been working for Gülen's charter network all along documents the connections between Young and her new employer. The intrepid Scott M. Folsom gathered all the news on this issue, and added his salient thoughts on the matter. I do differ with Folsom on one point—this has everything to with "Fethullah Gülen involvement", and anyone aware of the cult's well documented undue influence over LAUSD board members like Monica Garcia, knows how much power these malfeasants have. The allegations against Magnolia are of Misuse of Public Funds. Plain and simple. No amount of “great schoolage” and kids on waiting lists forgive this. Ultimately this is a matter of law enforcement - and the LAUSD Board – as public trustees and empowered with enforcing the charter law and protecting the public purse – have blinked/waffled/whatever. I hate to be “zero intolerant” – but there are no waivers or mulligans for malfeasance. The Man Behind the Curtain has nothing to do with the case: This has nothing to do with with the Fethullah Gülen involvement with Magnolia; to bring that up is a bit of misdirection. Parental Choice does not give the right to parents to choose to send their kids to a bad school -- whether the school is bad because it does a crummy job of teaching students or managing the public’s funds. I consider Caprice Young a friend – but she has been brought in to save the day and impose order amidst fiscal chaos while framing and spinning and charming the story of the chaos as something less than egregious. The biblical metaphor of pouring oil upon the waters comes to mind – but ask the folks on the Gulf Coast – or in Alaska: Oily waters are not necessarily a desirable outcome! The Board in its role as charter authorizer and overseer moved to suspend the three charters. It may have dodged a public vote earlier – but it had authorized the superintendent to act in its behalf. That’s what superintendents and Boards of Ed do. Then the Board of Ed went into closed session and changed their mind and/or had their minds changed. The process of granting, suspending and reviewing charters is supposed to occur in Mr. Justice Brandeis’ “Disinfecting Sunshine”. Instead it happened behind closed doors in the guise of settling a lawsuit