A September opening is much more likely now for Everest Public High School, a new charter school to be modeled on Summit Preparatory Charter High School, which regularly sends more than 95 percent of its seniors to four year colleges and has many more applicants than available seats.
The California Board of Education voted 7-0 in Sacramento on Wednesday to approve Everest's charter, Everest spokeswoman Diane Tavenner said. "There were only seven members there for the vote, but they all approved it," she said in a voice-mail referring to the 11-member board.
A staff report to the board disagreed with all 16 allegations by the Sequoia Union High School District against Everest's petition, and all three allegations presented by the San Mateo County Office of Education. Both agencies rejected Everest's charter petition in 2008.
In February, the nine-member Advisory Commission on Charter Schools, a panel that advises the state board, also gave Everest's petition its unanimous approval.
High school district Superintendent Patrick Gemma, who claims Everest's petition violates the intent of the charter-school legislation and will be harmful to the district in economically hard times, responded to the state board's action in a statement.
"We are disappointed that the state became involved in what is clearly a local issue and that the state chose to grant the appeal," he said. "It was a daunting task to try to ensure appointed officials 150 miles away understood our local interests and needs."
Mr. Gemma's entire statement can be read at www.seq.org.
Everest plans to open with 108 freshmen, adding a another grade level each year. School officials are planning a public lottery to choose the freshman class on Saturday, March 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Summit Prep at 890 Broadway St. in Redwood City.
A lottery is required when a charter school has more applicants than students; Everest has a pool of more than 250 applicants, Ms. Tavenner said.
The location of the school is yet to be determined. The Sequoia district offered four portable buildings on a currently empty lot on a residential street in East Palo Alto, but Everest's lawyers have threatened a court battle if the district does not provide facilities on the campus of Sequoia High School in Redwood City.