Memorial Academy of Learning and Technology, the struggling Logan Heights charter school I wrote about today, is expected to make a final decision as to whether two administrators will remain at the school at a meeting scheduled tonight at 5 p.m.

Board president Benjamin Prado, who has declined to discuss why two high-ranking Memorial employees are on administrative leave, said the board would likely make its final decisions regarding their status tonight, and will provide information about the action afterward. As of Wednesday, the board had not released any information to school staff or parents regarding the sudden absences of principal Marco Curiel and curriculum director Fred Lanuza.

Amid a host of problems that threaten to sink the charter school, parents and staffers have latched onto the idea of hosting a new technology-themed public school at the site. To give over the entirety of the site to the new school, Memorial would need to fold back into the school district as an ordinary public school.

Similar mergers have been controversial in San Diego Unified. Teachers union president Camille Zombro has asked the district to craft a policy on how such mergers will take place, including whether and how charter teachers from collapsed schools will be hired to work in the school district. (Teachers at charter schools are oftentimes not part of the union, though those at Memorial are.) Talks have continued, she said, but no policy exists.

That worries Zombro. Charter schools, which depend more heavily on state funding than district-run schools, will be hit hard by the sweeping state budget cuts now aimed at schools. Superintendent Terry Grier has remarked that if all San Diego charter schools survive the crisis, he’ll be surprised.

The lack of a negotiated agreement about how to bring charter teachers into the system complicates the mergers, Zombro said.

“Now we’re faced with an actual charter looking to come back into the district,” she said, “and we still don’t have an agreement.”


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