FAIRFAX (KPIX) — A fight over school resources in the North Bay centers around a new charter school in Fairfax.
The 6th graders at White Hill Middle School are about to be directly impacted by Proposition 39 which requires public schools to provide room for charter schools.
A group of parents and students from the school staged a protest during a visit by the California Department of Education. They wanted the CDE to know that it’s not okay that their public school has to make room for a charter school. They demand that these education officials change the rule.
“We’re protesting against the CDE, we’re not protesting against the charter,” said 6th grader Sofia Barker. “They’re not doing their jobs correctly.”
“Like my sign says, ‘hear our voice’,” said parent Eileen Brown. “What we realize in this community is that the laws get written about the charters, and there’s not a lot of room for public input.”
A building at this public school in Fairfax will now be mostly set aside for Ross Valley Charter. This pushes the 6th graders into the rest of the middle school, mixing 6th with 7th and 8th grade students.
“It is only supposed to hold 500 kids,” said Allegra Dicarpegna, a 6th grader. “There’s gonna be 800 of us in there. “
“Its hard to go to middle school already,” says Sofia Barker, another 6th grader. “Then having all the charter kids coming into our building will make it extra cramped, make it harder to learn and it’s gonna be louder.”
One argument is the charter school won’t even have enough students come Wednesday. This leaves some parents wondering why they need 8 classrooms to themselves.
A representative from the charter school says their current enrollment of 139 kids won’t impact the public school at all.
“The district said they could still offer the same program for middle students even if they gave us those 8 classrooms,” said Sharan Sagar, Ross Valley Charter School Board Chairwoman.
The State Department of Education has said Ross Charter School is not in violation of any rules and they will operate in a Prop 39 facility provided by the Ross Valley School District. Even with that straight-forward ruling, it’s not stopping these parents from putting up a fight.
Anna barker: 2642 “If this happening in our community it can happen in any community across California because of poorly written laws,” said Anna Barker.
The public school and charter school start Wednesday so even though it’s a done deal, these parents say they are not done fighting. They want to take this up to the state level and try to get some laws changed.