SACRAMENTO, CA - Students at a Sacramento charter school had to take the statewide STAR test a week early after getting some bad news.
"Basically, they apologized for the inconvenience, but your school will close in three days," Drew Young said. The principal of the Horizon Charter School in South Sacramento sent parents a message on Monday that said there will be no more classes after Thursday, April 15.
Young said he's worried about the impact on his three children who attend the school. "Very bad timing. You have 21 days left of school and they have no classroom. The whole class schedule has just been turned upside down," Young said.
"It was more than a surprise, it was a shock," said Robert Briggs, who also has children enrolled in the school.
Briggs' children are home schooled in Horizon's independent study program and also attend large group classes in a church building on Stockton Boulevard two to four times a week.
Briggs wondered what will replace the classes. "We're being told there are plans afoot, but really it seems as if they're scrambling to get things together," Briggs said.
"It's difficult for them to understand. It's difficult for me to understand," said Horizon Charter School CEO Lu Ann Boone.
Apparently, a state law is forcing the agency to make changes at its Sacramento site. "It had to do with the fact that we're chartered in Placer County," according to Boone.
The California Education Code states a charter school must provide "its primary education services in.....the county in which the school is authorized." In addition, a majority of the students it serves must be from the county the school is chartered in.
Boone also pointed out an email parents received about the upcoming changes didn't detail how the school program would continue.
"Our plan is to use our teachers in a different way," she said. "They will be working with students doing assignments, making the assignments, collecting and grading the work."
Boone said instead of attending group classes, teachers will meet with students in their homes and in public places, such as coffee shops.
"Yeah, how about an education at Starbucks," Briggs grumbled. "I mean what is the world coming to. That's ridiculous. There aren't enough teachers to go around. We were told if three students meet with the teachers, that's considered a class."
Other parents said if the classes Horizon has held in Sacramento all these years have been illegal, a few more weeks won't hurt.
"They need to think of the kids first," said Young. "You don't pull the rug out from underneath 200 students with a few weeks to go."
Several parents said they planned to attend two meetings on the controversy. One will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Horizon Charter School headquarters at 2800 Nicholaus Road in Lincoln.
School officials said they'll also have an informational meeting for parents and students at the Sacramento school site at 9:30 a.m. Friday. It will be in the Southside Christian Center located at 7710 Stockton Boulevard.
By Karen Massie, firstname.lastname@example.org