Our actions are making a difference at TAS and obligating them to follow the law when it comes to being open and inclusive of our community.
State laws say that because public schools like TAS receive our tax dollars to operate, they must make sure that parents and other community members have oversight and input on how our schools are run. Two key state laws outlining this are the Ralph M. Brown Act and the California Public Records Act (CAPRA). But from its inception, TAS has skirted around these laws and toyed with our right to know how they operate and make decisions for our community. Board meetings have been canceled abruptly, public comments closed because we spoke truth to power, illegal sign-in procedures have been set-up for meetings, requests for information have been ignored, and more. But TAS is finally getting the message that our community has had enough!
On December 30, 2019, open records activist and professor Michael Kohlhass filed a petition asking for TAS to comply with his six prior requests for the schools’ public records. He also sent a letter on December 19, 2019, requesting TAS cease and desist with their illegal practices and violations of the Brown Act or face further legal action.
This letter was in direct response to the illegal actions of TAS’ board during our public speakout at the October 24, 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting. During this meeting, the Board convened and took two separate recesses where it was clear decisions were made without the public’s presence or knowledge. These recesses were also not on the agenda or subject to public comment, both violations of the Brown Act. The third violation documented, and contested several times by our South LA community, was TAS’s routine practice of obligating community members to sign-in for public board meetings.
We knew we weren’t the only ones witnessing these grave violations of California law. Under the threat of further legal action and potential fines, the TAS Board of Trustees finally responded. In a convoluted letter, dated January 10, 2019, TAS essentially says that they’ll stop doing the things that violated the law even though they weren’t violating the law. It makes no sense!
What is clear is that we are making an impact and we’re not letting-up. We will continue to demand The Accelerated Schools and their Board of Trustees be held accountable to the demands of our community!