Rehoboth Charter Academy

…The Riverside County schools office cited concerns about conflict of interest, among other problems, in 2006 when it refused to sponsor a Riverside charter school. The Riverside Unified School District declined to renew the charter for the school, Rehoboth Charter Academy, and the operators appealed to the county office.

County schools officials said they were uneasy that the husband of Rehoboth's principal was serving as president of the school's board. The school closed in 2007, after an unsuccessful appeal to the State Board of Education…
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CHARTER SCHOOL IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY GETS ONE LAST CHANCE: REHOBOTH'S OPERATORS ARE OPTIMISTIC THAT OTHER MEASUREMENTS WILL SUPPORT THEM.-THE FUTURE OF REHOBOTH CHARTER ACADEMY IN RIVERSIDE HINGES ON ONE LAST PLEA TO THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION; February 9, 2007, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Press-Enterprise
The board's advisory commission voted 9-0 last week to deny renewal of the school's charter. The decision was based largely on Rehoboth's failure to show adequate student academic performance, the panel said.

Rehoboth's operators, Principal Toya Flakes and her husband, the Rev. Sherman Flakes, said they remained optimistic, particularly after the commission suggested alternative methods of measuring academic performance. The state board meets March 7 and 8…

The Riverside Unified School District, which had sponsored the school since 2001, decided in June not to renew the school charter, saying it had a poor academic record and persistent operational problems.

The charter school, which has 250 students, appealed unsuccessfully in August to the Riverside County Office of Education.

Each agency highlighted the school's consistently low scores on the state's Academic Performance Index. The API rates schools from 200 to 1,000 based on student performance on standardized tests.

During the past three years, the state advisory commission noted, Rehoboth has been either the lowest or second-lowest performing school among Riverside Unified's 30 elementary schools. In addition, the 75 API growth it boasted for the 2004-05 school year was "wiped out" the following year with a 22-point drop…
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RIVERSIDE - A Riverside charter school that prides itself on small class sizes and a unique curriculum will seek renewal of its five-year charter Monday at a public hearing before the Riverside Unified School Board.

After a shaky start, Rehoboth Charter Academy has improved in its five years -- particularly in finance management and instruction -- but a few lingering concerns remain, district officials said.

Adding uncertainty to the renewal is a small group of parents who have accused the school of mishandling students and reneging on promised facilities.

Other parents have praised the 250-student school for its caring attitude and effective instruction…

Rehoboth, which derives its name from the Hebrew word meaning room enough for all, began in the 1990s as a private Christian school at Rehoboth Tabernacle Church. The Rev. Sherman Flakes and his wife, Toya, closed the private school, petitioned Riverside Unified for a charter in 2000, and leased space at a church on Colorado Avenue…

The school, however, continues to score low on the state's Academic Performance Index, which rates schools from 200 to 1,000 based on student performance on standardized tests. Its score of 697 in 2006 is lower than all but one of Riverside Unified's 29 elementary schools…

Too often, Rehoboth's financial audit would show the school as financially sound, but the district's audit would not, he said.

In May 2004, the school was reported to be $500,000 in debt, and some payroll checks bounced.

Flakes said the bounced checks resulted from changing payroll companies. The school has since operated with a balanced budget, she said…

Fine said an area of continuing concern is the school's lease.

The Praise Community Fellowship Church on Colorado Avenue leases the building to Rehoboth Tabernacle Church, which then subleases to Rehoboth Charter Academy.

Because Rehoboth will not share the master lease with the district, Fine is concerned about conflicts of interest, he said…

The most recent concerns stem from a small group of parents who allege that their children have been harassed, shoved and belittled at school. They also say the school promised such amenities as playground equipment, computers and a nurse to lure them to the school.

"They're not giving the children what they're promising," said parent Kim Westbrook, who has two sons at the school. "My plan is to shut the school down."…

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