AMADOR COUNTY COMMUNITY SCHOOL
REASON FOR REVIEW
The Grand Jury was approached by members of the Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention Commission concerning the operation
and condition of the Amador County Community School (ACCS), also
known as the Court School.
It is important citizens are aware there are two separate offices
operating from the Amador County Unified School District (ACUSD)
facility. One is ACUSD, and the other is the Amador County Office
of Education (ACOE). ACOE has jurisdiction over
alternative schools, such as ACCS, and special education programs. ACUSD
controls all other schools within the County. The Superintendent
of ACUSD also serves as the Superintendent of ACOE. Each has its
own separate budget.
In the early 1980's, Assembly Bill 90 was approved providing
funds for the Department of Education to create court schools.
Previously, court schools were only in juvenile halls. The court
school system was funded by the legislature specifically to
provide special services as part of the State's overall education and
delinquency prevention/intervention program. It wasn't until the
early 1990's that ACUSD took advantage of AB-90 and created a
court school system.
ACCS receives students through the Student Attendance Review
Board (SARB), Amador County Probation, and ACUSD expulsion
referrals. It is the job of ACCS to help students continue to
work toward earning their diploma while being taken out of the
ACOE receives approximately $2,500 more Average Daily Attendance
(ADA) money per student, per year, than ACUSD receives for a
student enrolled in regular school. Annual ADA funds for a
community school student are approximately $7,600. The funds are
prorated according to the student's length of stay in the ACCS
When ACCS started, it was an integral part of the Independence
High School (IHS) campus. The ACCS room simply served as a
homeroom for those students who were designated as ACCS students.
The ACCS students rotated to other classrooms in the same manner
as the IHS students.
This arrangement worked until IHS moved to its current location
on Independence Drive. After the move, the ACCS students were
housed in one portable classroom on the IHS campus and no longer
rotated to other classrooms.
During this time, the State Office of Education decided court
schools should be housed in separate facilities, apart from
regular educational campuses. Further, funding was to be kept
separate, and staff would have to work for the ACOE instead of
In January 1998, ACOE entered into a six-month agreement with a
private owner to lease property adjacent to IHS. The current
lease agreement is on a month-to-month basis at $1,350 per month.
The IHS principal remained in charge of ACCS. However, funds
continued to be co-mingled with ACUSD funds.
At the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year, a new, part-time (
1/3 of the salary paid from ACOE funds) ACUSD administrator was
assigned to oversee ACCS. Presently, staff at ACCS consists of
one part-time principal, one full-time teacher (this position
has been vacant since November, 1999 due to illness), one
full-time substitute teacher, one Instructional Aide and one
Secretary. A Probation Aide was assigned in March, 2000, and a
Mental Health Counselor was assigned on April 25, 2000.
ACCS enrollment averages 10 to 18 students who attend school from
8:25 am to 12:36 pm.
Superintendent of Schools
- Assistant Superintendent of Schools
- Chief Business Official
- Substitute teachers
- Instructional Aide
- Chief Probation Officer
- Former Chief Probation Officer
- Director of Maintenance
- Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission
1999-2000 ACCS Budget
- 1999-2000 ACCS Work Order Requests
- 1998-1999 ACCS Financial Report
- Lease agreement
- Education Code, Section 48900
- Education Code, Section 1982.3(a)
- 1999 Revenue and Limits Guide to School Finances in
- Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission's
reports and photographs
- Letter dated November 9, 1998 to ACCS Vice Principal
from ACCS teacher
The Grand Jury conducted nine onsite visits to ACCS and took
photographs of the school facility and campus.
The buildings which house the students do not appear to be safe
and exhibit the following:
b. Computer Lab (Portable Classroom)
a. Main school facility
Double doors in back are chained shut
- All windows on rear wall are barred
- Several holes in walls
- Electrical outlets exposed
- Library room used for storage of old books and
- Graffiti on walls inside facility
- Roof leaks
- Bathrooms have construction materials stored in shower
- Kitchen ceiling has large hole that leaks when it rains
- Kitchen oven doesn't work
- Kitchen refrigerator dirty
- Dry rot and mold under kitchen sink and in cabinets
- Large holes from water damage in Staff Room ceiling
- Staff Room being used for storage of obsolete books and
c. School grounds
Room smells of mildew
- Dry rot and holes in floor
- Exit door has handle removed, and blocked by files
- Holes in ceiling
- Water leakage from roof when it rains
- Unsafe stairs
- Mold under carpets
- Carpets buckling and tearing
- Water damage on carpets
- Room being used to store obsolete computers and
- Computer tables are sagging
- Electrical extension cords lying across floor where
d. Office (Portable Building)
Trash on playground area
- Filled trash bags lying on grounds behind school room
for over a year
- Barbed wire used to mend fencing around school
- Electrical conduits protruding from asphalt and lying
on ground in play area
- Steel pipes and other metal obstructions throughout
- Metal roofing lying on ground in play area
- Metal pipes wrapped around basketball poles and
protruding straight out into yard area
- Large holes in fencing around play area
e. Adjacent Property (approximately 100 feet away)
- Not properly secured from unauthorized entry
A swimming pool that has been partly filled with dirt, and has
standing water in it when it rains, is not gated
- Protruding pipes and electrical conduits around
swimming pool area
- Education Code, Section 1982.3(a) states, "Any amounts
received by a county superintendent of schools for revenue limit
purposes that are derived from the average daily attendance
generated by pupils enrolled in a community school shall be
expended only for community school purposes."
- Funds derived from ACCS are commingled with ACUSD funds.
- ACOE funds are paying approximately 33% of a Principal
- ACOE funds are paying 100% of a Secretary position.
- ACOE funds are paying 33% of a School Counselor
- ACOE funds are paying 25% of a Librarian position.
- The teacher has been on sick leave since November,1999.
- ACCS has worked wit full-time substitute teachers since
- The full-time teacher recently returned to work two
days per week.
- A Probation Aide was assigned in March, 2000.
- A Mental Health Counselor was assigned on April 25,
- Students attend ACCS only four hours per day.
- Additional ACCS funds are available to ACOE if students
attend six hours per day.
- School Counseling and Librarian services are not being
- Although 1/3 of the Principal's salary is budgeted by
ACCS, it has been reported the Principal devotes minimal time at
the school (approximately 5 to 8 hours per week).
- Grand Jury members observed a lack of supervision on
- Only ten Work Order Requests have been processed for
the current school year.
- Students may become violent.
- In 1998, the teacher submitted a written request for a
security system to the former Vice Principal. However, no
security alarm system has been provided for the classrooms or
- No intercom system exists between buildings.
- Grand Jury members observed students smoking cigarettes
on the school grounds.
- Students have no after school bus service.
- A report reviewed by the Grand Jury indicated a former
ACUSD administrator, who was subject to disciplinary action, was
reassigned to ACCS.
- Staff members report they have attempted to discuss
safety hazards and security problems with the Principal, to no
- Some ACCS staff members met with the Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention Commission in an attempt to correct
problems at the school.
- ACOE is attempting to find a new location for ACCS.
- The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Commission, as an advisory group to the Superior Court, has been
involved with problems at ACCS.
The school facility's physical condition is unfit to house
- Although ten Work Order Requests were submitted this
year, none dealt with the major repairs needed, or possible
hazards on the grounds.
- Since the office building has been broken into on two
different occasions, and confidential records are maintained in
the office, a better method of securing the building is needed.
- Chaining the back double-doors creates a safety hazard
for employees and students, and may be illegal.
- The portable housing the Computer Lab Room is in total
disrepair and should be condemned.
- The open pool area on the adjacent property is not only
a safety hazard, but also a potential liability.
- The ACCS budget is not clearly defined.
- ACUSD is in violation of Education Code Section
1982.3(a) by inter-mingling ACOE and ACUSD funds.
- Librarian and School Counselor positions are budgeted
for ACCS, however, services are not being provided.
- The Secretary's position is funded 100% through ACOE,
however, approximately 90% of her work is for ACUSD.
- Funding for ACCS can be increased by having longer
- A full-time teacher should be assigned to ACCS.
- The Principal's allocation of time for staff and
students is inadequate.
- After talking to staff members, it is apparent they
have attempted to discuss problems with the Principal. However,
few of their concerns are addressed by the administration.
- Students should not be allowed in the play area without
adult supervision during recess.
- Most students assigned to ACCS are "at risk".
- Because ACCS does not have an alarm or intercom system,
teachers and students could be in danger. In 1998, the teacher
submitted a written request for a security system to the former
Vice Principal. To date, a security system has not been
- Because students get out of school two hours earlier
than other students, no after-school bus service is available.
The students must wait for two hours for the IHS bus, walk home,
or pay for public transit, which many cannot afford.
- ACCS is in violation of Education Code, Section 48900,
by allowing students to smoke cigarettes in and around school
Due to its deteriorating condition, the ACCS facility should be
- If a move is not imminent, Work Order Requests should be
processed immediately to alleviate hazards in the school yard and
clean up the buildings.
- Request a health and safety inspection of the Computer
Lab portable classroom for possible condemnation.
- Install a security system to protect employees and
- Remove obsolete computers.
- Require supervision be present on the grounds when
students are outside.
- Develop a detailed budget exclusively for ACCS that is
- Increase teaching from 4 to 6 hours to provide better
educational opportunities. This would also allow students to have
bus transportation home.
- Remove the Librarian and School Counselor positions from
the budget, since services are not being provided.
- Since the Secretary spends 90% of the time working on
ACUSD projects, funding should be moved to that account. Actual
hours spent on ACCS projects should be billed to ACOE.
- Properly secure the Office portable to reduce the risk
- Increase supervision to ensure Education Code, Section
48900, is adhered to.
- The adjacent property owner should be required to
secure the swimming pool area.
- Evaluate the work performance of the Principal to
ensure ACCS has proper supervision and that he is responsive to
the educational needs of the students.
- The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Commission should follow up and monitor the Grand Jury's
recommendations by creating a task force made up of ACUSD
personnel, the Probation Department and the Courts.
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