FUSD opts not to renew New Millennium Charter

May 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno Unified voted not to renew the charter for New Millennium School in Downtown Fresno. Now the school must figure out what to do with its 240 students.

Teachers and administrators showed up to the meeting to plead with the school board to allow them to continue their work. But the board says the school has failed students for far too long.

This decision didn't come easy. School board members all but apologized to the dozens of students, parents and school staff from the New Millennium Charter School.

But the board says after years of underperformance and a track record of report failures it had no choice but to turn down the school's charter renewal.

"The program hasn't met the requirements that I think need to be in place to continue for another 5 year jaunt," said FUSD Superintendent Michael Hanson.

Several teachers and volunteers acknowledged the school isn't perfect. But they also shared their student success stories. "These students get attention from staff who cares about them, works with them," said Keisha Alford.

The board says not much on the campus has changed since its last charter renewal 5 years ago. Since then the board says turnover has plagued the school. "There are serious concerns about program quality and what students are getting when they attend there," Hanson said.

The charter school focuses on troubled students, kids that have seen failure at traditional schools. Tino Rodriguez is a volunteer at New Millennium. He spoke to the board and says his students need specialized teaching. He's now worried about their future.

"It's a dream for Superintendent Hanson to think that he can put them here and put them there," Rodrigez said. "He could put them right where they're at, right now, if he changes the school, I don't know, new name new something. But right there."

Superintendent Hanson says whether the school closes is now up to the school. If the school ends up closing the district will take on the responsibility of placing the students in other schools. In the meantime, New Millennium can file an appeal with the Fresno County Office of Education, which can renew the charter.


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