Bay View Academy charter school finally finds space, and the students to fill it.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The founding and housing of the Bay View Academy charter school wasn’t without its fair share of drama. These days, though, Academy Board President Bill Shaw is feeling good about its future.
“We’re on track to open by August 15,” he says. “We’ve got a space” – Del Monte School on Casa Verde Way in Monterey, which the academy will share with students of the Monterey Adult School. “We’ve got $375,000 from a federal grant. We’ve got enough students” – 192, chosen through a lottery process – “to have two kindergarten classes instead of one.”
Impressive accomplishments all, especially since in early May the academy still didn’t have a home.
The academy’s raison d’etre is not just to provide an alternative to underperforming MPUSD schools, but also to absorb the students orphaned by this month’s closure of Bay View Elementary in New Monterey.
The charter school crowd, comprised of some Bay View Elementary parents and their children, wanted to lease the Bay View building from MPUSD to keep a neighborhood school in their area. But the district refused their offer, and the academy accepted Del Monte instead.
“We’re not ready to lease out [Bay View] until we’ve completed the fair market appraisal process,” says MPUSD Superintendent Marilyn Shepherd. “If we leased it to the charter school folks, they’d have to pay fair market value, and they couldn’t do that.”
Instead, the district offered them space at Del Monte School, which will displace some Adult School classes. Associate Superintendent Dan Albert says that the district isn’t yet sure where those programs will be housed.
The district also approached the Defense Language Institute, which leased out the Del Monte property for $340,000 annually from 2005 until earlier this year, about renting Bay View.
According to city officials, however, DLI grew frustrated with the district for reasons that remain unclear. DLI then pulled out of Del Monte and refused to lease Bay View, in part because it could not be adequately secured.
In an April 20 email to City Manager Fred Meurer, City Councilman Frank Sollecito said the district “hastened the loss of military revenue.”
In his response, Meurer recounts a meeting with Albert and Shepherd: “It is clear that the district is opposed to doing anything beyond the requirements of law to help the Bay View Academy succeed… Even though they do not have any offers for Bay View, they will not consider allowing Bay View Academy to use it.”
Shepherd’s surprised by his comments. “We have to look at the whole district,” she says. “We have to maximize resources to cover our deficit.”