Charter school CEO says he didn't know about zoning violation

9:59 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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ROCKLIN, CA - The CEO and superintendent of Horizon Charter Schools says he was unaware enrollment at his Rocklin campus was five times the legal limit until after the school year had begun.

Craig Heimbichner on Tuesday defended the decision to close the campus with only a few days' notice, leaving parents of nearly 400 students in grades three through 12 scrambling to make alternate arrangements.

Heimbichner said he only learned on Sept. 28 that land use restrictions allow just 75 fulltime students in the light industrial center at 290 Technology Way.

Update:  Questionable lease led to Rocklin charter school shutdown

Heimbichner blames a third-party vendor that holds the master lease on the complex for not telling Horizon Charter Schools about the enrollment limitation.

He declined to name the vendor, but sources said it is a company called GroupAccess.

GroupAccess did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

In a letter to parents late last week, Heimbichner said the two programs at the Rocklin campus would continue to be offered, but only for independent home study.

Many parents picking up their children Tuesday on the last day of school in Rocklin were not interested, saying they deliberately chose a brick-and-mortar school.

"I guess we're just going to be doing an independent program at home, which none of us signed on for and done of us are happy with," said Melissa Bishop.

At a meeting with parents Tuesday night, Heimbichner said Placer County had not set a specific deadline for the campus to come into compliance, but that the landlord was demanding enrollment be reduced to 75 by the first week of November.

Heimbichner said the decision to close the campus immediately was based on several recent incidents involving parents picking up or dropping off students in the crowded parking lot.

by George Warren,


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