Parents and school staff members protested outside the San Jose Unified School District offices on Thursday evening to take a stand against proposed changes at South Bay charter schools.
The Sunrise Middle School community led the protest because the district has proposed doubling the rent for the school. Sunrise is a charter school, which, according to its Facebook page, has the largest percentage of students below the poverty level in all of San Jose.
In addition to the rent increase, the district has also proposed moving the middle school 10 miles south by the year 2016, which would place the school farther away from where parents typically commute.
At least five other schools in the school district are also at risk of moves and rent increases. Downtown College Prep High School expressed opposition to a similar change; the school district may move the high school farther away and to a smaller campus.
With ACE Middle School opening in 2015, the district needed to shift school locations which leads to what SJUSD Public Information officer Jorge Quintana calls "a domino effect."
Quintana believes Thursday's protesters misunderstood an item on the board agenda. He assures parents that Sunrise Middle School will not move in the 2015-2016 school year. The district has yet to determine whether the school will move locations in the 2016- 2017 school year.
Quintana also said charter schools like Sunrise have more variables when it comes to rent increases because charter schools can admit students from outside of the district. The fees for charter schools are lower with more in-district students and higher with more out-of-district students.
On Thursday night, the school board heard testimony about the proposed rent increases; the superintendent addressed the protesters concerns before the meeting.
The San Jose Unified School District is the South Bay’s largest school district, serving 33,152 students in grades Pre-K-12.