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School Board Approves Charter School Proposal

Approximately 40 SBUSD faculty, staff, and Imperial Beach community members came to last night's Board of Trustees meeting, anxiously anticipating news as to whether 7th and 8th grade education will be coming to the district.

(SBUSD) Assistant Superintendent Shelley Burgess said 53 seventh grade student applications have already been received for the (IBCS). 

Forward momentum for the charter that will combine Imperial Beach Elementary School and West View Early Learning Center continued when a final draft of the petition to create the school was approved Thursday evening with a 3-0 vote by the Board of Trustees.  

Votes in favor were cast by School Board President David Lopez, Vice President Melanie Ellsworth and Trustee Elvia Aguilar. Trustees Nicholas Inzunza Chris Brown were absent.

The petition will be sent to the California Department of Education for final approval by the end of the month.

If approved, IBCS will open in July 2012 and would combine and into a single, K-8 facility.

Burgess said that community, faculty and staff interest continues to run high.

“The California Department of Education requires that we receive at least 51 percent approval from staff at each site,” she said. “We have 100 percent teacher approval at West View and more than 90 percent teacher approval at Imperial Beach Elementary. We have already had two informational meetings for parents and have had a lovely turnout and a lot energy and excitement at the prospect of adding a seventh grade.”

Eighth grade classes may begin in the 2013-14 school year.

A final informational meeting for parents and students will take place in Burgess Auditorium March 13 at 6 p.m.

Although admission preference will be given to students who live within the attendance area, word-of-mouth advertising of IBCS has begun garnering interest from outlying communities.

“We have received applications from other areas within the South Bay,” Burgess said. “But outside students would be admitted if space is available.”

Trustees Elvia Aguliar said she is also excited about the plan and that she wants the district to continue to expand.

“I think this is wonderful news,” she said. “I hope to one day have a South Bay Union High School.”

The Board also received a presentation from Assistant Superintendent on the SBUSD’s finances.

Saadat said that SBUSD’s finances remain heavily dependent on decisions being made in the state legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown’s current budget assumes that state voters will approve a $6.9 billion tax increase during the Nov. 2012 election.

If the proposal fails, he said, cuts to K-12 education funding, including reductions to school revenue for average daily attendance (ADA) as well as a 100 percent cut of home-to-school transportation funding, could materialize.

“Right now we’re better off than we anticipated and have an ending fund balance of $1.5 million,” he said. “We are, though, preparing a worst-case scenario budget in the event of a failed tax extension.”

California’s next budget update is set to be released in mid-May.

Dan Wasson March 12, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I am a teacher at Mar Vista Middle School and I am concerned about this charter school. The students we receive are consistently behind academically. Consider that we had to offer thirteen support classes for students who entered the middle school underprepared. Now this district wants to keep them for two more years? It sounds like this district is looking forward to using their students' impending failure as a rationalization to expand into high school further compounding their failure to educate. Who will they blame then?
Mitchell D. McKay March 12, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Just curious what the difference is between the ADA (State funding) for a Middle School student and that for an Elementary school student? Is this just an attempt to bolster the SDUSD's pocketbook? What is the average Middle School Teacher's salary vs an Elementary school teacher salary? I would assume a Middle School teacher has to have more education and possibility an area of specialty - e.g., Math, Science, or such)? With the lack of economies of scale, I honestly don't see this proposal going to far...and ultimately, to who's benefit?

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