UPDATE: Rocketship Charter Calls Police on Neighbors Trying to Attend Public Meeting

September 26, 2016 19:32 pm · 67 comments

Concord Police were called on citizens who tried to attend a public meeting on the proposed Rocketship Charter school at 988 Oak Grove Rd., which is currently the site of “The Church At Concord”.

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All homes within 500 feet of the church property received a notice from Rocketship Charter regarding a meeting tonight. Those on scene say only about eight homes were given a notice, and anybody who lives more than 500 feet from the property was denied entry into the meeting.

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The notice reads “please come out on for a chance to meet with the Rocketship Futuro Academy school staff and parent leaders followed by a community discussion regarding the exciting future of the church property.”

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Concerned community members waited outside and were told not to take pictures or video, according to witnesses.

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Rocketship Charter finally said the public would be welcome after 7 p.m., but most people had already left after police arrived, witnesses said.

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Rocketship Charter currently has a school on the campus of Ayers Elementary school in Concord. The school was denied by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and the County Board of Education, however, it was approved by the California Board of Education. The MDUSD, under proposition 39, is required to provide the charter a facility in which to operate, even though they are against the proposed school.

Thanks to “DLS” for the photos from outside the meeting.

UPDATE, 8 p.m.: The public has been invited in. About 30 people from the surrounding neighborhood are attending the meeting. Rocketship Charter says the proposed school, which is right down the street from Ygnacio Valley Elementary on Chalomar Rd., would hold about 550 students.

Traffic and safety are also major concerns since the school would be on the corner of Oak Grove and Chalomar.

1 Mom of a few September 26, 2016 at 7:49 PM

Uh oh Is that Annie? You in trouble folks lol.

2 Rebel September 26, 2016 at 7:50 PM

Wow, sounds like such a welcoming church and school!

3 Frito Bandito September 26, 2016 at 7:51 PM

Once again I suggest that the rocketship be launched at the old Orchard and Safeway buildings at Oakgrove and Monument, with el faro and kfc used to provide free meals, as a cafeteria.

4 TK September 26, 2016 at 7:59 PM

Hahaha. Your libtard legislators in Sacto usurped local decision making and exempted these institutions from local review and discretion. Congratulations. This exemplifies why centralized and big government portray knowing what is better for you.

Enjoy your new neighbors and liberal democracy at work. But memories are short and you’ll vote Democrat again.. Hahahaahah.

5 Maryanne September 26, 2016 at 8:01 PM

Calling the police on the community – wow, nice way to show how much you care about the community you’re going to need the support of

6 Check Before You Vote September 26, 2016 at 8:04 PM

Should do some research and discover which persons running for state elective office from our area are being backed by those in charter school movement.

7 Mika September 26, 2016 at 8:17 PM

And when did the performing arts charter school sneak in the district?

8 Grewah September 26, 2016 at 8:19 PM

Scientology run this place?

9 James C September 26, 2016 at 8:20 PM

My family received a flyer to attend and we denied access at the door. Our house can be seen from the front door of the church, but apparently we are not part of their idea of community….

10 James C September 26, 2016 at 8:22 PM

My family received a flyer to attend and we were denied access at the door. Our house can be seen from the front door of the church, but apparently we are not part of their idea of community….

11 Grammar? September 26, 2016 at 8:24 PM

So, will the teachers and administrators be required to pass a basic grammar class before school starts? The flyer they passed around is a nightmare!

12 Rok September 26, 2016 at 8:24 PM

Not enough ice cream and pizza.

13 TK September 26, 2016 at 8:36 PM

Forget the incident about whether you were let in or not…you people are missing the fundamental issue of how this school is being established.

14 Kristi September 26, 2016 at 8:39 PM

Take a look at Rocketship here: http://www.stoprocketship.com

Rocketship has already sucked close to $500,000 from MDUSD to get portables set up in Ayers campus, for 115 students. I live near Ayers, and have had frequent opportunity to observe their shuttle drivers. If it is close to 8:00am, get out of the way, they are flying!!
Even though Rocketship was opposed, the state department of Education approved their petition.
As much as I want them off the Ayers Campus, I don’t wish them in any community. I believe they demonstrated their true community concern, or lack thereof tonight. As with many Charters, it’s all about the money.

15 Robert Pevahouse September 26, 2016 at 8:46 PM

My son has special needs and we sent him to our zoned public school for kindergarten. The school suspended him several times and even let him run away and had no idea were he was. He made it very far and luckily was not run over or kidnapped. As for the suspensions they continued because they didn’t care to help him. there solution was to leave him in a classroom by himself during school hours. We took him out of that school and put him in rocket ship elementary and he is doing great. They really work with kids to help them succeed even ones who are hard to teach like my son. The people you see upset in these pictures were stirred on by the picketers outside the meeting with picket signs saying “no rocket ship elementary. They are afraid of losing funding and of course more money. Rocket ship cares about the kids and that is why parents are pulling kids out of these district schools and sending them there. I hope this sheds some light on the subject.

16 A Rocket Mom September 26, 2016 at 8:49 PM

Rocketship is seriously the best thing that has happened to my child! Anyone against Rocketship does not care about the children. Go home!

17 Bob September 26, 2016 at 8:50 PM

# 13 right you are… I had to read it a couple of times, I thought I was missing something.

18 Marinez Mom September 26, 2016 at 8:57 PM

I’m pretty sure this church is renting their facility to the charter school. Being welcoming is NOT a reflection of the church. I don’t go there and know nothing about it, but I’m pretty sure the doors are open wide when they are having church services.

19 Lone Ranger September 26, 2016 at 8:59 PM

On the sign:
“please come out on for a chance” huh?
Oak Grove Blvd.? Where’s that? This property is on Oak Grove Rd.

20 TinFoiler September 26, 2016 at 9:05 PM

Since the word “Futuro” is in the title, they will play and racism card and the school will be allowed.
What a shame for anyone who owns a home over there, instead of weekly church meetings they ‘ll now get daily (two times) traffic drama.

21 TeacherMan September 26, 2016 at 9:06 PM

Rocket is the WORST! They lied to the community on multiple occasions. There’s a reason MDUSD turned them down. Then like little kids, Rocket ran to “mommy” and claimed they were being bullied. Too bad they were able to use the Prop 39 loophole. Sneaky bas***ds. The children will be the ones to suffer when this “for profit” institution (it can’t be called a school) ends up folding or is closed by the DOE when they realize they were scammed.

22 Aldridgefamily September 26, 2016 at 9:07 PM

It was a church so is a school really any different? What’s with the ani rocket ship dude, must be a union thug

23 Cat Lover September 26, 2016 at 9:08 PM

Number 13, Can you post the flyer to show what you speak of?

24 Annie September 26, 2016 at 9:10 PM

Carlyn Obringer is a big Charter School backer. Look up her name and she is all about Charter Schools. Not good for our City Council. We already have enough problems.

25 Kyle September 26, 2016 at 9:18 PM

TO, sure name calling and blaming others always fixes the problem…..douchebag

26 Kyle September 26, 2016 at 9:18 PM

Sorry, TK not TO

27 ManBearPig September 26, 2016 at 9:19 PM

Obviously they want to start off on the right foot.

28 Publius September 26, 2016 at 9:22 PM

There are a number of heavily financed candidates from charters who are running for local office. In the county, Fatima Allelyne Sloan, and Vikkie Chavez, who are running for county ed. seats, are all supported by the charter interests. Carlym Obringer and Grayson are also two others who take big donations from the charter groups. Obringer works for charter organizations. Their strategy is to skip school districts and have the counties approve them. That worked real well for Clayton Charter and the School for Performing Arts which currently hold their classes in a gymnasium

29 TK September 26, 2016 at 10:01 PM

@27

Ignoring the truth about facts doesn’t make it any less true…. it just makes you ignorant. Case in point.

Remember what I said on election day. That’s right… go ahead and fill in those incumbent boxes. Uh-huh.

30 Rocketeer Mom September 26, 2016 at 10:04 PM

@Kristi- and who’s fault is that? Rocketship didn’t ask to be located at Ayers. Blame the school district. The money you’re crying about could’ve gone to building a more permanent location.

Maybe consider why parents are opting out of district schools! It’s always about the money with some of you people. Had Rocketship not showed up, where else would that money of gone? Please don’t say “a better education”. Highly doubt that. Have you seen the ratings of some of the district schools? Again, consider why parents are making a choice!

31 stop look and listen September 26, 2016 at 10:05 PM

#27
you did a funny!

32 Wowza September 26, 2016 at 10:28 PM

The Charter School phenomenom took root in
Berkeley in the 1970s, strongly backed and
supported by Sufism and Sufi backers in the
federal government. Sufism is an Islamic sect,
is frequently called “Sufism Reoriented” in the US,
and considered a cult.

33 annon. September 26, 2016 at 10:58 PM

If what @35 says is true, that is a red flag of what those children may be learning. If it is the same group that built a rocket ship type underground/above ground structure in Walnut Creek I think for living purposes., there should be an investigation.

34 BigBill September 26, 2016 at 11:10 PM

I wonder who we have to thank for this ‘prop 39′. I am guessing it is some southern california Republicans.

35 dinkydau September 27, 2016 at 5:26 AM

If no cameras were allowed or people denied entry, then something is not right at all. To me, someone is running a scam and trying to take peoples money.

36 Great Gonzo September 27, 2016 at 6:31 AM

Something does not sound right about this. That is a pretty high handed way for a school to treat its new neighbors.

37 An informed human being September 27, 2016 at 6:35 AM

1. People were not turned away. The ice cream and pizza social were for the IMMEDIATE neighbors to socialize with Rocketship parent leaders. That was from 5pm-7pm and the meeting followed, as the flyer indicated.
2. The flyer was given personally to 18 houses, how others got their hands on it is a mystery.
3. Cops were called because from 5pm-7pm it was a private event and people were being confrontational and disruptive.
4. Anyone was allowed to the 7pm meeting as long as the max occupancy rules were followed, which they were.

People are looking for a reason to be upset and arrived on the scene already geared up to find something they could be mad about, and that is the reality.

38 Blind Panic September 27, 2016 at 6:41 AM

How to make a good first impression on new neighbors,
call the cops on them.

If this is how they react under a little bit of stress perhaps they are not the best choice to educate children.

39 Not in my backyard September 27, 2016 at 6:55 AM

#17
The people in these pictures are neighbors that live around the church. Neighbors who Rocketship refused to allow into their invitation only meeting. Rocket Ship also said that they would have a neighbors car towed from the church parking lot if they did not leave. They have not yet bought the property. Rocketship finally decided to let the neighbors in at 7 pm. This was because the neighbors that they invited walked out because they would not let in the other neighbors. Rocketship is planning on building a school on a street that has an elementary school already on it. Traffic mess with all of the schools already using Oak Grove Road. Place it in your backyard! The proposed building is a large two story eyesore in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

40 IEP MOM September 27, 2016 at 7:19 AM

From what I’m gathering Rocket Ship seems like some sort of special needs school.
If this is the case nd they’re is all this controversy surrounding it i world just like to point out to all the other parents of special needs/ behavior issue kids that there is another option that had worked AMAZINGLY on my kiddo. It’s a school called Sunrise Elementary and it’s behind mom and Gardens. It’s not part of Monte Gardens, it’s it’s own separate school and it only has about 70 kids… If the school does focus on special needs and parents are uneasy about sending their kids there, just know that there is another option.

41 IEP MOM September 27, 2016 at 7:20 AM

Typos:
*BEHIND MONTE GATDENS

Side note: Hooray for cash & carry!

42 I was there September 27, 2016 at 7:30 AM

#24 Aldrigefamily, It’s way different than a church. They are talking about 500 kids being enrolled in that school. Considering Chalomar is a dead end street with another elementary school already on that street, 500 yards down the road, the traffic alone is going to be a nightmare. The building plans are a 23,000 sq ft 2 story building that looks like an office complex, it doesn’t fit the neighborhood.

#20 Martinez Mom, the church is not renting to the charter school. The church does not own the building, an investment company who bought the property, but was unable to build on it, does.

Rocketship’s policies and practices at this point are moot when talking about the property on Oak Grove Rd. They have not bought the property, or even submitted any plans to the city as of yet. The meeting last night was to talk to the neighbors about the concerns that they have.

I am a neighbor directly affected by this piece of property and will be involved in all meetings that happen, if anyone has any questions just ask away.

43 A Teacher September 27, 2016 at 7:59 AM

As a veteran MDUSD teacher I can tell you first hand that our district is getting worse. In WC they are trying to pull out and establish their own Northgate USD. I support this 100%. I can also tell you that these Charters DO NOT HAVE THE STUDENTS BEST INTEREST. Dozens are already flocking back to MDUSD schools bc they did nothing but dance the first 3 weeks of school. I am not exaggerating, unfortunately. Look no further than Clayton Valley Charter HS to see corruption at its finest. The teachers that made it charter were all thrown out the first year Linzey arrived. And now CV has hired McMorris who is gone from Northgate amidst questions about his receipt of $40,000. He’ll fit right in to CV.
While MDUSD is quite frankly in the toilet, these charters are not the answer. You might want to rethink who sits on the CCC board of ed.

44 Wowza September 27, 2016 at 8:26 AM

By the way, Sufis keep their membership in
this group on the down low because, otherwise,
they are subject to censure.

45 John Pope September 27, 2016 at 8:35 AM

Calling the cops on your new neighbors because they want to hear what you’re planning? Not a good start, Rocketship!

46 Mike September 27, 2016 at 9:07 AM

After moving to the area as a child in the 70s, my parents were disgusted by the quality of the public schools in the area so after waiting 2-3 years on a waiting list I started going to private school.

If families decide to send their children to private schools the family still pays taxes to fund public schools, yet the schools do not receive a penny from the state for their students education.
While in high school (DLS) there was a measure that was defeated which would have allow some funds to go the private schools (since the families did pay into the public school fund). It was a small percentage, considerably less than what is actually paid to each public school per student. The schools were pretty much asking the state to pay for the text books used by the students… That’s it.

I can’t help but wonder if the entire “Charter School” craze is in reality a way for Administrators & Parents to receive funds from the state so that their children can go to a hybrid “private” school.

47 Neighbor Girl September 27, 2016 at 11:05 AM

I live on Notre Dame Ave, at the far end from where they are asking to put the school. We received an invite for the whole Ice cream social part too. We didn’t come to it but drove by and saw all the hoopla. I for one really don’t think we need two schools on the same block. It is already hard to drive in and out before and after school. Another school would make it unbearable.

48 Shannon Bottorff September 27, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Maybe they didn’t have enough ice cream at their “ice cream social” for the whole neighborhood.

49 BEATRICE RUANE September 27, 2016 at 2:23 PM

Charter schools undermine our education system, they have become a monster of special interest instead of special education….make changes in the school district, fix the wrongs, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water….get involved…

50 A Rocketeer Mom September 27, 2016 at 5:44 PM

It’s obvious where Claycord stands on this issue since the story is one sided. Nice job.

The meeting was by invitation only! Invitation. Since we’re talking about education. If you didn’t receive an invitation directly from the school, then yes, you were turned away. Why was that so difficult to comprehend? However you received your invite, well you know who to blame. Protest if you want at least be civilized about it considering there were children around. You have your right to protest just like children have a right to a better education. This is about children’s education. How about we focus on that. if parents want to take their children to charter schools, that’s their choice. Who are YOU to tell them otherwise.

@IEP Mom- just because your child had a great experience does not mean everyone else will have the same experience. Every child is different and special in their own way.

51 John September 27, 2016 at 6:06 PM

I live in the neighborhood and our comments about Clinica also went unheard. They are going to wait to address the traffic safety issue until some poor soul dies. We have already seen a few close calls.

52 justthefacts September 27, 2016 at 6:48 PM

Dear A Rocketeer Mom,

#1. I don’t see how Claycord is being one sided. They posted an article and people are responding to it.
#2. I wonder if you are an actual parent, or an employee of Rocketship. You seem somewhat defensive.
#3. I also wonder why Rocketship didn’t just wait until it secured a property to begin their “school”?

I don’t blame Rocketship for TAKING OVER Ayers Elementary, by placing 7 portables on the small grass area that my child and others used to have access to practice soccer/softball, etc, and have PE classes. I don’t blame Rocketship for the CHAOS in parking and SPEEDING shuttle vans around the neighborhood that we LIVE in. I blame the STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION for allowing this mess. See, if this were your school and you were happy with it and the amazing teachers and staff that are at Ayers, you wouldn’t appreciate this TAKEOVER either.
Above you mention the money could have been spent on a more permanent solution…I don’t think any money from the MDUSD should be spent on a private organization.

53 Not in my backyard September 27, 2016 at 7:01 PM

Funny how not all neighbors who border the church received an invite. So this was a private invitation only meeting followed by a community meeting? What a way to introduce yourself to the community that you want to embrace your school. I was turned away from the meeting because I did not have your personal invite but I was not informed that I could return at 7. You decided to have that meeting after you saw how the community was reacting to you trying to sneak this in under our noses. When the neighbors returned at 7 of course they were angry, who can blame them?

54 Not in my backyard September 27, 2016 at 7:05 PM

The article states that all neighbors who were within 500 feet of the church building were invited to the pizza and ice cream private party. You need to do your math because I am within that 500 feet and did not receive an invite and was turned away. So you can understand my anger.

55 Atticus Thraxx September 27, 2016 at 7:07 PM

No sides? How about some Baked Stuffed Mushrooms? Or maybe a Chinese Chicken Salad, if that’s really a thing.
There is nothing more precious than parents of school-aged children, eh Senor Alcalde?

56 Midland September 27, 2016 at 7:24 PM

A school in that location is a bad idea.

57 Annie September 27, 2016 at 8:30 PM

Try going down Whitman when school is out. That’s a nightmare. Actually any main street around there is a mess. Just what they need over there more traffic. Of course the people Rockship) that want it there don’t live around there or even in our town much less the community.

58 Claycordian September 27, 2016 at 9:14 PM

Folks, you do not want any organization tied to the Sufi group in your neighborhood. Just ask the people who live in the Saranap area of Walnut Creek… The Sufis are taking over the neighborhood completely.

59 Mika September 27, 2016 at 10:15 PM

Some people dont deal well when the ice cream runs out.

60 Am I reading this right? September 28, 2016 at 9:03 AM

A program for broke,free loading, lazy parents has the locals ticked off. And now the locals are ticked off they didn’t get their free ice cream and pizza? What am I missing?

61 Randall Taylor September 28, 2016 at 11:09 AM

Hi folks,
This is pastor Randall Taylor if Praise Chapel Christian Fellowship. We are a non denominational full Gospel church. With humanitarian works around the world, in need of our own facility.
Just to let some of you know, the school is not linked to the church that is presently meeting there.
We actually put in an offer for a lease option some time ago. But the owner who originally had planned to destroy the church to put up houses refused us in favor of the school.
Sorry to hear about all the trouble, sure seems weird, Personally I don’t even like the sound of the name of the school.
I found out about all this through a member of our church.
Has anyone looked into exactly what they are all about? They should remember they are guests to the neighborhood. With all the weirdness being allowed in our school system today that confuses and pollutes the minds of our kids, the last thing we need is an exclusive school the does the same.
Heck we have a Budhist temple the city is allowing to operate in a residential area at the corner of Cowell Rd and Babel lane without the okay of the residents not the proper permits.
What’s going on?????

62 anon September 28, 2016 at 1:40 PM

Check Rocketship on linked in, combine search term with “Arabic Jobs” and you’ll see they’re recruiting for teachers who are experts in Sufism. The comment above the pastor’s was deleted by claycord. Why are they censoring this info?

63 Randall Taylor September 28, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Nothing is ever exciting about tearing a church down, not unless it’s to build a better building for a legitimate church to use.
Especially with mosques popping up all over town.

64 Annie September 28, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Rockship has more tax payer money. The owner just looks for the money not what’s good for the neighbors. You have no say so in how Charters are ran. I don’t know why people put up with that when they would never put up with it in public schools.

65 Not in my backyard September 28, 2016 at 9:21 PM

The neighbors in the area including myself never saw the flyer. We were given by other neighbors a informational paper that stated there was a meeting at the church regarding Rocketship Charter School . We were asked to come and voice our concerns. We could care less about the pizza and ice cream.

66 Stratman September 30, 2016 at 11:50 AM

Hello, I am also a neighbor on Chalomar Road. I received one of the flyers and it seemed pretty clear that we were being invited for a community discussion concerning their plans. There was no mention of a private function and if they thought those of us receiving the flyer weren’t going to talk to our neighbors about it, they were mistaken.
Rocketship made it clear that their target population was low income Spanish speaking children from the Monument corridor. What that means to us is at least 250 to 300 more cars entering Chalomar two or three time a day. There is no exit on to Oak Grove there so they will simply be lining up with the scores of vehicles already coming in to the neighborhood with the Ygnacio Valley Elementary kids, most of whom come from out of our neighborhood as well. Many of us have very strong opinions about Rocketship or charter schools in general, however, our real concern is that this location is entirely inappropriate for their needs.

67 Stratman September 30, 2016 at 12:20 PM

Hi again, After looking back over the earlier comments I feel that I must respond to number 38, “An Informed Human Being” (aka Rocketship staff member). #1 People were turned away. Most of us in fact. There was no way of knowing that this was a private affair for only eighteen members of our neighborhood. #2 If by personally you mean dropped in our mailboxes (something that is actually against the law) then why would you think the ” special” eighteen of us wouldn’t be discussing this meeting with our neighbors. #3 Police were called. In fact three patrol cars arrived. They seemed as confused as we were. There are a few of us in the neighborhood who can voice their opinions pretty strongly. Perhaps that is what scared them. For the most part, the officers stood around with us for awhile and then left. Scary stuff, right? #4 The seven o’clock meeting was held as a concession to those of us outside. It was not planned by them. In fact, one of the speakers explained that she hadn’t planned to be speaking after seven and her voice was weak. One other thing, the group wearing the “NO Rocketship” tee shirts were required to stand out at the street , which they did and simply held up signs. If Rocketship hadn’t treated us in such an aggressive and inconsiderate way they wouldn’t have had to deal with us as angry as we were when they finally agreed to meet with us.

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