New South San Jose charter school not ready for first day of school

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It’s August already, and for many families across the Bay Area, it won’t be long before it’s time to go back to school.

But the launch of a new charter school in the South Bay has hit a snag.

For a while, it looked like Allen Steinbeck middle school would be sharing its facilities with a brand new public charter school, but now, that’s not going to happen.

“We were definitely very excited about opening Promise Academy,” parent Yolanda Bernal-Samano said.

Bernal-Samano and some 200 other families have enrolled their children in the new Promise Academy public charter school, which was offered space at Allen Steinbeck School, but now, that’s not going to happen.

“We’re disappointed we were unable to come to a collaboration on a school in the downtown area,” Bernal-Samano said.

Bernal-Samano would have preferred Horace Mann or one of five other downtown area elementary schools, but the San Jose Unified School District, which is mandated by law to provide space to charter schools, instead offered space at Steinbeck.

“We do not have any facilities available that would meet the needs for K-8 students,” San Jose Unified spokeswoman Lili Smith said. “It’s just not there.”

San Jose Unified acknowledges that some of the downtown schools do indeed have extra space due to declining enrollment and that Allen Steinbeck would better accommodate the Promise students.

“It has appropriate bathrooms, it has a gym, and it is just a better fit for a middle school-aged student,” Smith said.

The Promise charter parents had hoped for a downtown school to be close to the Tech Museum of Innovation, which was going to help with the schools innovative curriculum.

Bernal-Samano says Allen Steinbeck school, 5 miles south of her downtown home, is just too far away.

“Transportation-wise, it’s just not going to work,” Bernal-Samano said. “We had hoped the district would come around and give us one of the schools in the downtown area.” 

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