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A new charter school slated to open downtown this fall has won approval from the San Diego Unified school board. There’s just one catch: The school has to squirrel away $100,000 by July 15.

The school, Urban Discovery Academy, faced strong opposition from charter school monitors at San Diego Unified, who advised the school board not to authorize the school. District staffers questioned whether the school could stay afloat financially and argued that it was an illegal conversion of a private school, Harborside, into a charter school.

Many of the parents who helped plan Urban Discovery Academy previously sent their children to the private Harborside school, which closed for financial reasons last summer and was subsequently resurrected as a special program inside a downtown public school, spurring controversy about equality at the school.

Responding to the staffers’ financial concerns, trustee Luis Acle proposed to approve the school’s charter on one condition: Urban Discovery has to save $100,000 by July 15 to prove it can stay afloat. His motion passed 3-2, with trustees John de Beck and Shelia Jackson in opposition.

“I’ll be straightforward: I’ll be watching you,” Acle told Urban Discovery supporters, prompting chuckles from the crowd.

Read more about the proposed school here. Or to read the district’s objections to the charter, click here.

EMILY ALPERT

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