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Charter School Lawyers Yield to New Information, Promise of Legal Action, and Release Some Public Records

Provided with new information, and the promise of legal action, attorneys for Community Learning Center Schools (CLCS), which runs two public charter schools in Alameda, relented yesterday and released some of the public records they had just last week refused to release.

Last month, in a controversial move, the CLCS board voted to terminate Nea Community Learning Center Lead Facilitator Maafi Gueye, and an additional administrator, Lina Miura, without cause.

It was a controversial move; both administrators had supporters and detractors, and Nea students took to the street to protest the impending termination.

In the months leading up to the termination, allegations flew, and several formal complaints were filed with the CLCS board.

On April 20th, Action Alameda News submitted to CLCS a public records request for “Copies of all written complaints submitted to the CLCS board from facilitators, or CLCS, Nea, ACLC employees, whether they be facilitators or administrative staff, and from parents, between October 1, 2013 and April 20, 2014.”

On May 13th, attorneys for CLCS sent Action Alameda News a written denial to our request.

After we published news of the denial, a source, who asked not to be identified, contacted us to explain that some or all of five specific complaints were read in whole or in part at March and April, 2014, CLCS board meetings, and some or all of them were shared with an external party who investigated the complaints.

Armed with this information, which impacts the ability of CLCS to claim exemptions to disclosure, Action Alameda News asked CLCS’ attorneys to reconsider their denial, before we engaged an attorney. A civil action in court is the specified legal remedy in California to unjustified withholding of public documents.

CLCS, which receives public funding, is bound to the California Public Records Act by its charter with the Alameda Unified School District.

Yesterday, CLCS’ attorneys released these five complaint documents produced below, which focus on CLCS Executive Director Patti Wilczek.

In an April 20th communication that Ms. Wilczek sent to the CLCS community, CLCS Board President Joan Uhler wrote, in part, “In the past few months, Patti has been subjected to far-reaching attacks by certain vocal members of our community. Her professional ethics have been the subject of formal complaints. Following the results of multiple investigations by a legally sanctioned third-party investigation firm, complaints against Patti were determined to be unsubstantiated. From the Board’s perspective, her performance has remained thoroughly professional under very difficult circumstances.”

The investigatory report has not yet been released by CLCS, nor has Action Alameda News requested a copy of it to date.

(The ownership of the content of the e-mail message is muddy – it was signed ‘On behalf of the CLCS Board and with best regards’ by CLCS Board President Joan Uhler, and presented as an e-mail message from the CLCS Board of Directors. However, it’s not clear that it was the product of a formal, noticed, CLCS Board meeting. Challenged on that point – at least one board member voted against the dismissal of Gueye and Miura – subsequent messages of the same type were presented by Ms. Wilczek as ‘A note from [Board President] Joan’)

Action Alameda News has twice invited members of a divided CLCS community to provide copies of any additional complaints they have filed with CLCS, regardless of the subject person of their complaint. None have been received so far.

The five complaints provided by CLCS’ attorneys are provided below.

Five Nea Written Complaints

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