San Diego Unified staffers are recommending that the school board shutter Holly Drive Leadership Academy, a charter school that has existed for nearly a decade, citing financial problems and lackluster test scores at the school. It ended last school year nearly $38,000 in the red, according to a school district report, and failed to meet the rising bar of No Child Left Behind last school year.
Officials at Holly Drive, a K-8 school with fewer than 150 students located in southeastern San Diego, argue that their scores have dropped because of an influx of English learners and are pushing the board to compare them to nearby schools where scores have also lagged. A report submitted by the school states that it outscored Gompers Charter Middle School last year, though it fell behind other neighboring schools, such as Horton and Porter elementary schools.
San Diego Unified also noted financial problems at the school, which has overspent its revenues for the past four years, has no emergency reserves, and is being sued by a machinery company for nearly $15,000 in equipment, merchandise or services, staffers wrote in their report. Holly Drive, however, projects that it will be able to cover its costs for the next three years. Principal Alysia Smith could not be reached last week or today for comment.
The school board will weigh the issue tomorrow night. It is the first time that the new school board has been asked to close a charter school, a relatively rare event in the school district.