To protect their 15,000 students, teachers want decision makers at California Virtual Academy and K12 Inc. to end delays and work with educators to fix their school.

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BURLINGAME

Joined by community supporters, educators from California Virtual Academy (CAVA) – California’s largest online charter school – hand-delivered today a petition with nearly 1,500 signatures and counting to decision makers at both CAVA and the for-profit company K12 Inc. which provides CAVA’s management support.  Teacher and community delegations delivered the petition at CAVA’s Simi Valley headquarters and at the offices of Technology Crossover Ventures in Palo Alto.  Technology Crossover Ventures is one of the largest shareholders of K12 Inc. stock and is led by K12 Inc. Director John Q. Reynolds, Jr.

CAVA teachers have been calling for improvements at their school for the past two years.  In May 2014, a super-majority of CAVA teachers decided to unionize.  Despite legal delays by CAVA, the California Public Employment Relations Board issued a decision in October 2015 to certify the teachers’ union with CTA.  An appeal of the state labor board’s decision is pending.  Educators announced the launch of the online petition in April 2016.

CAVA teachers want their union formally recognized and for collective bargaining to commence.  Specifically, the petition calls for the following improvements at CAVA:

    • Sufficient resources for the classroom to support teachers in giving every student the attention and support they need.
    • A commitment to supporting teachers by allowing them to focus on the job they were hired to do rather than being burdened by ever-increasing loads of administrative tasks that come as a result of CAVA’s cost-cutting measures.
    • More competitive wages and benefits for teachers, and other improvements to working conditions that will allow CAVA to recruit and retain quality educators and restore workforce stability by reducing teacher turnover and burnout.
    • Workplace protections that will allow teachers to effectively advocate for students without the threat of retaliation or job loss.

“Today we stood up once again to demand CAVA and K12 respect our rights and our voice,” said Cheryl Melucci, a second-year CAVA middle school teacher.  “CAVA and K12 need to know that we are not going away, and educators are prepared to do whatever it takes to hold CAVA accountable to the needs of our students.”

 In March 2015, CAVA teachers shared their experiences in an in-depth study of CAVA released by the watchdog organization In The Public Interest that called for better oversight of the school.  In June 2015 they filed complaints with school districts that authorized CAVA charters throughout California in an effort to protect students.  Recently, research from Stanford University and the University of Washington came out reinforcing many of the concerns CAVA teachers have voiced.

Today’s petition delivery follows the publication of a two-part expose from the San Jose Mercury News which criticizes CAVA and K12 Inc. for siphoning away more than $310 million in public education funding from the state over the past 12 years.  In reaction last week to the newspaper investigation, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that the California Department of Education will be working with the State Controller’s Office to conduct an audit of CAVA and related charter schools.