Paves way for the school to relocate to Paso Robles

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Almond Acres Charter Academy’s plan to relocate to Paso Robles took a significant step forward Thursday.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Education approved AACA’s charter petition appeal to operate in Paso Robles.

“We’re feeling pretty amazing right now,” said AACA Board of Directors member Edward Surber following Thursday’s positive vote.

There was some concern by AACA that its appeal would be denied after the County Office of Education staff report recommended the board deny it, stating several reasons including the petition did not meet the stands for charter schools set in the California Education Code — “Petitioners are Demonstrably Unlikely to Successfully Implement the Program Set Forth in the Petition” and “The Petition Fails to Contain a Reasonably Comprehensive Description of all 15 Required Elements set forth in Education Code.”

Almond Acres Charter Academy has been operating since the 2012-2013 school year as a charter school authorized by the San Miguel Joint Union School District under a recently-renewed charter through June 30, 2022.

AACA purchased a 3.1-acre property at 1145 Niblick Rd. in 2019, intending to relocate in 2021 to Paso Robles, where roughly 70 percent of its families reside. The tuition-free independent public charter school serves just over 300 students in North SLO County.

Surber took the lead on getting the word out about the upcoming vote, contacting several media outlets across various platforms.

Surber did not understand the staff’s recommendation after the school operated successfully for nearly a decade. The school started the current year in distance learning.

“Regarding AACA’s ability (or not) to perform as a successful school or not, the only response to this is that we’ve performed at or above state standards for the past eight years,” Surber said before the County Board of Education meeting.

AACA’s petition was before the County Board of Education because the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District School Board took no action on it back on April 28. AACA then submitted its appeal to the County Board of Education on June 18.

If the County Board of Education had denied the appeal AACA’s future would have been in doubt once its current charter expired in 2022.