Fresno Unified's I.B. Program move causes outrage with parents

FRESNO, Calif.

Next fall, the International Baccalaurette (I.B.) Program will move from Wawona Middle School, on Thorne and Gettysburg, to Cooper Middle School, located on Bellaire and Hughes.

The program offers students college-prep courses. According to the district, the plan makes sense because Cooper Middle School feeds Fresno High which also has the I.B. Program.

Thursday night's meeting inside the gym at Wawona Middle School was pretty heated. And although the meeting was for the public, Action News was kicked out and not allowed to shoot any video from inside.

Many Wawona parents were upset saying they weren't notified about the changes until a decision was already made. About 100 parents packed into Thursday night's meeting at Wawona Middle School. Many of them say they chose to send their kids to Wawona because of its International Baccalaureate Program.

"This school has done an absolutely wonderful job with the I.B. Program. They're trying to fix something that's not broken," said Wawona parent Jon Bracamontes.

Bracamontes has two children at the school. He and other parents were shocked to find out that two weeks ago the district's board voted to move the college prep program to Cooper Middle School less than two miles away. Now they must decide where to send their children next year.

"And I like the school really a lot and just to have it changed all to another school, my concern is if the kids will adapt to it over there," said Wawona parent Vanessa Acosta.

Hundreds of students and 21 campuses will be impacted by the move. It comes two years after the school board approved a master plan calling for boundary changes.

Fresno Unified Board Member Carol Mills is in favor, saying it streamlines the district. "The facilities advisory committee recommended that master plan that was adopted, and one of the basis of the master plan was to balance the populations in the high schools."

But not all board members agree. Larry Moore says while he did approve the master plan, he voted against moving the I.B. Program. "These folks here are disappointed that there was no public input when they made the decision, but I can't address that. I voted against it, but the decision has been made."

The school board meets on Wednesday to implement those boundary changes. As for the I.B. Program -- that decision is final.

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