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OCASA logoBy Allison Jarrell

After failing to receive a majority approval in December from the Capistrano Unified School District, the Orange County Academy of Sciences and Arts charter school has submitted its petition for approval to the Orange County Department of Education in an effort to open its doors this fall in the south Orange County area.

On Dec. 9, the CUSD Board of Trustees voted 3-3-1 to effectively deny a petition to establish OCASA within the school district. CUSD staff’s recommendation to the board was to reject the petition due to issues including an “unsound educational program” and legal concerns.

The three trustees who voted against denying the petition noted at the Dec. 9 meeting that OCASA had the option to send its petition to the county and said the county would likely approve the petition, which would eliminate any oversight the district would have had in the process. While OCASA’s petition mentions interest in a San Clemente or San Juan Capistrano school site, representatives have repeatedly said the charter is not looking to displace one of the district’s current schools.

According to an email from OCASA representatives, the OCDE Board accepted the charter’s “appeals package” on Dec. 16. OCASA will make a presentation to the board on Jan. 13, and the board is expected to vote on the charter’s appeal on Feb. 11.

In the meantime, OCASA has announced the beginning of the school’s open enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year. Enrollment began Jan. 6 and ends Feb. 28. Interested parents need to attend an information meeting before applying for enrollment.

Meetings are set to take place on Jan. 16 at 4 p.m. at Mathnasium in San Clemente, located at 1001 Avenida Pico; on Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Keller Williams Realty in Mission Viejo, located at 27101 Puerta Real, Suite 150; and on Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. at Capo Beach Church, located at 25975 Domingo Avenue in Capistrano Beach. More dates will be announced in February.

For more information about the charter school, visit

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