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Gompers Charter Middle School is protesting plans by San Diego Unified to build a bus terminal and new bungalows for its adjacent school, Millennial Tech Middle School, through Proposition S, the $2.1 billion facilities bond passed by voters last fall to revamp local schools. The clash will test the role of charter schools in decisions about the new bond, which includes projects at charters located on school district properties.

The two schools share different parts of a single campus in Chollas View, but one school is an independent charter school, while the other is a magnet school run by the school district. Cecil Steppe, president of the Gompers board, wrote that the plans represented an encroachment on the school and would conflict with their plans to build an athletic building and more classrooms to house their newly approved high school. In his letter to San Diego Unified board President Shelia Jackson, Steppe argued that buses could drop off at another area and that it made no sense to inconvenience neighborhood children for the students who would be bused into the Millennial Tech magnet from elsewhere:

What a waste of money! The experiment to develop a magnet school in Southeastern San Diego has been attempted on the Gompers footprint at least twice in recent history: Both attempts proved to be colossal failures for neighborhood children … (that) contributed to the creation of Gompers Charter and a half dozen other recently chartered schools in your district.

In the world of school politics, those are fighting words. Check back for more details soon. I’ll talk with Jackson and see where the protests go.

EMILY ALPERT

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