Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Menlo Park: The Willows neighborhood, on Jul 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm
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.