Thursday, December 16, 2010
Bay View Elementary School, slated for closure in June, could open next fall as Bay View Academy, an independent charter—if some Bay View parents have their way.
On Dec. 13, parent Bill Shaw confronted a tough audience of Monterey Peninsula Unified School District board members who will vote yea or nay on the charter next month. He outlined plans for a 165-student K-5 school designed for hands-on learning both inside the building and at places like Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey Museum of Art, and Colton Hall, which have signed on as Bay View Academy partners. The school also plans music, art and Spanish classes.
Teacher salaries are to start at $48,000, beating MPUSD’s beginning wage of $36,000, but coming in significantly lower than the top of the salary scale, $75,000. The school will be open to all kids (preference to those who live within MPUSD boundaries), and selection will be by lottery, Shaw says.
Monterey Bay Teacher Association activist Jill Low says the charter is likely to attract only younger teachers on the low-end of the salary scale, and willing to take a risk on a venture that could go bust.
But Monterey City Council members Frank Sollecito and Nancy Selfridge urged the board to approve the charter. Both have expressed concerns about families they say are leaving Monterey, opting to send their kids to better funded and higher performing schools in Carmel and Pacific Grove.
“Before ‘No Child Left Behind,’ I was against charters,” Sollecito says. But the law’s emphasis on testing threatens the ability of schools to nurture creativity and critical thinking, he says, adding that charters may be able to fill that void. Otherwise, he asks, “Who’s going to invent the next Google or Microsoft?”