Thursday, April 8, 2010
Bayview School has stood in Monterey for more than 80 years, and a group of stalwart parents say they aren’t ready to see it go – even though the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Board voted for its closure last December.
The school district contends Bayview costs too much to operate because, with some 350 students, it’s too small to be cost effective. But Bayview parents, who fought the closure, have hunkered down for a longer struggle.
Later this year, they’ll present the district with a petition to convert the school to a charter. “We decided to do this because we believe in public schools,” says parent organizer Raju Ceerla, adding that even though his first grade daughter has been granted a scholarship to elite private Robert Louis Stevenson, the family prefers to remain at their neighborhood school.
Would-be charters must pass rigorous scrutiny by MPUSD. “It’s like starting a school district,” says Aseneth Rodriguez Quaid, compliance coordinator for the Monterey County Office of Education, which considers appeals when school districts nix charter applications.
Ceerla and his wife Rochelle, along with a couple of other Bayview parents, gathered to talk with the Weekly before an April 6 community meeting on the charter plan.
The parents, who hope the Bayview charter will open in 2011, want to introduce a longer school day so students can study music, art and foreign languages. They dream of a garden, partnerships with community groups and an emphasis on learning, not just standardized testing.