Rally to save charter schools in East county - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rally to save charter schools in East county

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Supporters of local charter schools claim more than 1,000 students are at risk of being shut out of their schools in San Diego County because of a lawsuit filed by Grossmont Union High School District.

Teachers, principals and students wore neon green shirts with the hashtag Defend School Choice (#DefendSchoolChoice), as they rallied outside the Grossmont Union High School District Thursday night to save East County charter schools.

In October the school district filed a lawsuit to shut down all five charter schools that serve about 1,000 students who struggle in traditional schools.

Many of those students are dropouts. The average student is 18-years-old or past graduation age, and only earned enough credits for a freshman. 

“We want to be successful in our careers and our future. I strongly believe this school needs to stay with us," said Ramirez.

School Superintendent Ralf Swensen said the charter schools authorized to operate in Julian School District are illegally setting up resource centers in the district’s boundaries such as Diego Valley Charter in El Cajon and Julian Charter in Alpine.

“Our concern is that this charter school is here illegally. They have defied state charter law, and we simply feel that is not acceptable,” he said.

Students like senior Brittany McMahan said she was failing at El Capitan High School, but thriving at Diego Valley Charter.

“We need our education and obviously their point of education isn't working for us. It's ridiculous," she said.

The superintendent said Grossmont has schools to cater to each of its students needs, but charter teachers say it's about giving students a voice in their education.

“Everyone has a choice in life, why can't our students make a choice in their education,” said a teacher. A hearing in superior court is scheduled for June.

On Thursday night, the Grossmont Union High School District also approved a half-a-million dollars to continue fighting a lawsuit accusing the district of withholding bond money for the construction of Alpine High School which still has not been built.

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