Foster City finds operator for high school

A plan for Foster City’s first high school may be on the table by the end of the summer, after members of the group working to make it a reality announced Tuesday that an operator had been found for the proposed 486-student facility.

On Tuesday, Envision Schools President Daniel McLaughlin confirmed that his organization had been selected by the Foster City High School Foundation as the charter operator for the charter school planned to open for the 2008-09 school year on four acres of the 15-acre lot adjacent to City Hall. The site will also include 11 acres of retail and senior housing complexes.

“We want it to be a public building for public benefit,” Foster City High School Foundation President Phyllis Moore said. “Right now if you want to take adult evening classes, you have to go across 101 to one of the other high schools in San Mateo.”

A Foster City high school will also alleviate some of the strain on the San Mateo Union High School District, which is considering cutting almost halfits transportation budget to help shore up a $1.5 million deficit. Transportation cuts would hit Foster City students hardest because they are the most geographically removed segment of the student population.

Although much of the student population will likely come from the immediate area, Moore and McLaughlin both said they hoped the school would draw a diverse student population from around the Peninsula.

“One of the things that we don’t want to do is have an elitist little Foster City school,” Moore said. “We want to integrate the school with the community.”

McLaughlin said his organization is currently working on a charter petition to submit to the city sometime before the end of the summer. The petition will contain the group’s educational philosophy and proposed curriculum for the school.

A charter school operator oversees the hiring, training and administration of its school. High Tech High was originally slated to operate the school, but after its Bayshore campus announced that it would be closing, the city asked the Foster City High School Foundation to find a new partner.

Moore said they didn’t have to look far. Four years ago, when they first began looking for an operator, Envision’s incorporation of art and technology in their curriculum made them the first choice.

At the time however, the fledgling operator was busy developing its Novato campus and was unable to take on another school.

Envision Schools

Schools it operates

» Marin School of Arts & Technology, Novato, opened 2003

» City Arts & Technology High School, San Francisco, opened 2004

» Metropolitan Arts & Technology High School, San Francisco, opened 2005

» Envision Academy of Arts & Technology, Oakland, opened 2006

» Impact Academy of Arts & Technology, Hayward, to open in September 2007

What are its goals?

By 2009, Envision plans to serve 4,000 Bay Area students annually in a cluster of approximately eight college-preparatory high schools.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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