Bay View Elementary charter plans hit roadblock with teacher opposition.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
When the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District announced last year it would close Bay View Elementary as part of a district-wide reorganization, parents sprung into action.
Many cherished the idea of a small neighborhood school – just 350 kids attend Bay View – and they wanted to keep it alive.
They worked feverishly to convert the school to a charter, consulting experts, developing curriculum plans and recruiting other parents.
But the effort hit a snag when it came to winning support from the majority of Bay View teachers, which is legally required for a district school to obtain charter status.
Parent Bill Shaw says employee pay and benefits would have been comparable to MPUSD’s, and teachers would be free to organize a union. But job security at charters is less than rock solid, and teachers narrowly voted it down.
Now, parents face the prospect of organizing what’s known as a start-up charter. Neither Shaw’s two kids nor those of the other parent organizers would be guaranteed a spot on the new campus: Their names would be tossed in a district-wide lottery, open to all students. And the prospects of securing a school building in the neighborhood for a such a start-up are iffy. The new developments have the parents scrambling to figure out their next move.
“The theme of the school was going to be community involvement,” Shaw says.
The idea was to tap Monterey’s rich mix of scientific, cultural and historical resources by partnering with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the museum, and city and state historical sites, many of which are within walking distance of the neighborhood, and they wanted to lure local artists and musicians to campus for after-school classes
The parents haven’t given up on a Monterey location. They’ve formally asked the school district for the right to use the Bay View building, and are also pursuing an alternative location in the city.
They hope to open the new school in fall 2011, when Bay View is set to close, but must first win school district or county approval.