Adelanto School Board Shuts Door On Dickinson’s Charter Start-Up Request

The Adelanto School District Board of Trustees has rejected a proposal  by Michael Dickinson and several of his associates to create a new charter school.
Dickinson, the founder of the San Bernardino Public Safety Academy who was ignominiously terminated as that entity’s president and executive director last year after revelations that he was exploiting the charter school for personal financial gain, applied in April with the Adelanto School District to have the  True North Charter Academy established on a campus in Apple Valley. Dickinson confidently predicted he could have 400 students enrolled at the school, to be devoted to vocational training and college prep, upon opening.  With the district’s blessing, Dickinson intended on applying for $2.35 million in funding from the state for the first year of operation, to commence in late August.
After examining the application and its particulars, however, Adelanto schools superintendent Darrin Brawley recommended against granting True North the charter. At its May 15 meeting, the school board followed suit, voting against chartering the school, which would have functioned out of a campus in Apple Valley with students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, offering what Dickinson promised would be flexible hours of instruction coordinated with local businesses for workplace training and Victor Valley Community College for accelerated learning.
Board members were skeptical of the financial figures put forth by the charter school’s applicants.
The San Bernardino Public Safety Academy, which was founded in 1999 by Dickinson as an unaccredited seminar for teenagers pertaining to certain aspects of fire science, was eventually granted charter status by the San Bernardino City Unified School District, specializing in training students for careers in firefighting and law enforcement. It found a niche with interested students and their parents, but from the start Dickinson failed to maintain strict accounting standards for the operation. In 2011, the school fell into controversy and scandal when it was learned that Dickinson was making $121,000 per year as the administrator of a for-profit company the non-profit charter school was contracting with and that Dickinson’s wife, who was serving as an instructor/principal at once of the academy’s schools, had provided some of her students with questions on state standardized tests in advance. When the school’s board moved to fire Dickinson’s wife, Dickinson terminated the board, resulting in a struggle in which Dickinson ultimately was himself terminated as the charter school’s top administrator.

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