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Original post made
on Jul 29, 2009
Good. It is about time this goes to court and gets settled and we will find out who is right.
My gosh as a business concept: "Everest will receive about $6,700 per student from the district's operating budget. Comprehensive high schools such as M-A and Woodside receive about $11,500 per student, an amount that should rise with the departure of students for charter schools." A $4,800 profit margin per student!!! Dr. Gemma certainly didn't get his PhD in Business Administration.
If I were the District, I would welcome the outsourcing of education to Charters. That is incredible! And to think this could have been accomplished on the Sequoia Campus for no extra funds. Confounding?
Trustees, you really need to question the decision-making from a fiscal responsibility standpoint. This vendetta against Charters defies reason. Imagine if SUHSD was willing to work constructively with Summit/Everest, you would have such a positive story within this District -- strong Comprehensives, strong academically-focused and diverse Charters, great electives and sports, outstanding theaters...This anti-Charter campaign is ridiculous and hurts everyone -- please stop.
So let me see if I can understand this:
1)SUHSD denies Everest charter and sees no need (see Dr. Gemma's ill informed Op/Ed)
2)SUHSD posts information on it's website decrying the State Board of Education decision saying it should be a local matter
3)SUHSD says there is absolutely no available space on the Sequoia HS campus, despite public records that would argue otherwise.
4)SUHSD announces a plan to create a campus in EPA on land already owned, but requiring movement of prefab buildings (located in the Sequoia high school campus), as well as some land work (?cost). The site is proclaimed to be beautiful by SUHSD (in an artist's rendering) though local residents express concern and Everest rejects it for both location as well as not being Prop 39 compliant.(Local concerns should rule the day only if they are what Gemma wants apparently). SUHSD rejects traffic concerns with a study assuming 40 cars per day.
5)Having stated clearly the desire to be centrally located (in RWC), Everest offers to use a building on Charter street, one that had been previously environmentally cleared as safe.
6)The district intervenes with RWC and slows down approval process, eliminating Charter Street location as a possibility.
7) Everest secures a site on Main St. in RWC, that appears to be a new, empty, well equipped office building. (Cost for the year of approx. $200K?)Everest exercises its right as a public school to be exempt from zoning laws.
8)The district hires outside counsel to look into whether they can block Everest from using the Main Street facility.
9)The district claims that Everest's "true intent" is to not be anywhere in EPA, nor in a comprehensive facility, but to simply get the district to pay for a stand alone site in RWC.
Stunning. It seems to me that in attributing motive to Everest, SUHSD has revealed their true intent, namely to force Everest to locate in an inconvenient location with a substandard facility, as part of an ongoing effort to assure Everest failure, in a cynical attempt to take away school choice from district parents.
How can Gemma and SUHSD justify the continued throwing of good money after bad to try to make life miserable for the Everest group? How dare SUHSD attorneys be divisive and try to make this about EPA, knowing that Everest has said they wanted to be in RWC from day 1.
How can Gemma credibly claim to want to allow local control over these issues when what that apparently means to him is HIS control (remember the requests of Everest and the residents of Green St. in EPA?)
The legal posturing with divisive rhetoric certainly undercuts Mr. Gemma's claim that he is concerned about ALL the students of the district. It is very clear that students in PUBLIC charter schools are second class citizens and are worth wasting what little money the district has to avoid letting parents have choices. The sad thing is that I have to believe between the additional costs of preparing Green Street, legal fees, and wasted time, that the district has already lost money on this and should they lose this suit and need to pay damages, they will end up with more money problems (which undoubtedly they will blame on Everest).
Enough, SUHSD needs new leadership.
So Mr. Gemma is concerned about the success of all students. I guess he just has a funny way of expressing it. My son is set to go to Everest, was fine with the Charter Street location, and is now fine with the Main Street location. I would kindly request that the best way Mr. Gemma can help my son succeed is for him (and the SUHSD) to let Everest open on Main street in peace. His and the district's actions have provided many "teachable moments", mostly relating to the need for government accountability and abuse of power. He has asked very good questions about the logical inconsistencies eminating from SUHSD. We deserve better leadership for our high schools.
I am so glad that I am out of education now. I always thought that the goal of education should be...education! Pure and simple, education of student beings and their entire selves. Instead, I see the insidious face of bureaucracy that mirrors the insecurity and desire for control, control, control on the part of the district. Here, we have the "offspring" of a most respected institution, Summit, which has a proven track record of success. Yet Everest is given locations that others perceive as less than desirable school sites. That strikes me as having to force them to be treated disrespectfully as "have nots." How educationally rude, being treated like the black sheep of the family.
I admire Summit and Everest for having the umbrella vision to treat education as an exercise in totally developing the students' sense of being: the willingness to have the students think critically, creatively, problem solve, and to look to their futures in a way that gives them many options based on their learning and instruction. I wish all schools were like that, and that this educational concept was truly and realistically embraced by all districts.
I chose to retire and leave teaching because I did not agree with test-driven results and the nauseum of educational bureaucracy. I am glad that many of these parents from Everest and Summit have made the same decision to opt out of the educational mainstream in search of an education that creates whole beings, not educational robots.
I'm So Outta Here.
A Retired Teacher
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