BOE To Reconsider Sheff Magnet School Proposals

by Categorized: Christina Kishimoto, Schools Date:

The city board of education has scheduled a special meeting Monday to reconsider two magnet school proposals that the board rejected earlier this week.

Plans to create the Capital Community College Senior Academy, a partnership magnet school with Capital Community College, will likely move forward, according to a meeting agenda posted late this afternoon. The board will also be asked to approve converting High School, Inc., a finance and insurance academy downtown, to a Sheff magnet school, starting with 9th grade in 2014-15.

Both magnet programs would be part of the state’s negotiated settlement for 2014-15 with plaintiffs in the longstanding Sheff v. O’Neill desegregation case.

The board voted 5-3 late Tuesday to reject the magnet school proposals after an hours-long executive session. As you might recall, much controversy surrounded one of the original Sheff proposals: A plan to turn over management of SAND Elementary School to a nonprofit company run by Capital Prep Magnet Principal Steve Perry.

After parent and union outcry — SAND families were informed of the proposal less than a week earlier — the board decided to remove the plan from the overall Sheff vote Tuesday. But in an outcome that appeared to surprise several members of the board, a majority voted around 11 p.m. to reject the magnet school proposals, as well.

Monday’s special meeting will also request that the board authorize Superintendent Christina Kishimoto to “identify at least three (3) neighborhood and/or community schools as potential Lighthouse Schools, as well as the model(s) which may be implemented.”

Something to note: the SAND plan that was rejected had been proposed as a “lighthouse” school design.

The special meeting agenda also states that “the criteria to be used by the Superintendent in making these determinations shall include those used in considering re-designs, as well as any other relevant considerations. Thereafter, the Superintendent shall conduct one or more community forums to discuss the schools and models so identified. Based on the results of said community forum(s), the Superintendent shall determine whether one or more of the schools and/or models so identified should be removed from consideration and whether a school and/or model not already so identified should be considered. After making these determinations, the Superintendent shall identify one (1) neighborhood school as a potential Lighthouse School, based on whether the school has the potential to meet the Lighthouse school goals. Specifically, does the school have conditions necessary for school quality improvement and increasing natural diversity? The Superintendent shall meet with and consider the input of the School Governance Councils, other PTOs, other interested parents, other stakeholders, and the faculty and administration of said school. Based on the foregoing, the Superintendent shall recommend to the Board of Education one school for conversion to a Lighthouse School as well as the proposed model.”

Translation: The school system will seek significant input from the community this time. Remember what happened with the Clark School proposal just last week?

It’s unclear after this uproar whether the school system will continue to consider Steve Perry as a potential management leader for a “lighthouse” school design.

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