March 2017 -
The Academy of Personalized Learning (APL) will pay lost wages to teachers who were wrongfully and abruptly fired for forming a union, the Academy of Personalized Learning Education Association
(APLEA). The settlement was reached Feb. 7, thanks to CTA legal help.
APL is the charter school in Redding that CTA contends illegally fired nine highly qualified teachers in 2014 and 2015 after they formed APLEA.
The teachers say they feel vindicated. “When we saw student learning was endangered, public money spent shamefully and the law broken, CTA stood with us and supported our fired colleagues,” says Candy Woodson.
On numerous occasions APLEA members asked Gateway Unified School District, APL’s sponsoring district, to investigate allegations regarding APL’s operations, including that it cherry-picked students and hired unqualified teachers. Teachers also voiced concerns that state funds designated for the classroom were paid to a hedge fund in Palo Alto.
Records show APL paid “more than $500,000 in taxpayer money for attorney’s fees, rather than do right by students and teachers,” Woodson says. “It’s important to stand up for the students in our schools, and that’s what we APLEA members did. Except for CTA, it felt like we were the only ones advocating for our students, and for public school funding to be spent appropriately.”
The settlement includes a provision that APL will close operations by June or July. In January, Gateway Unified told APL officials it would cancel its charter after a court ruled that charter schools must be in the boundaries of the host district.