Protests block CCSF from moving into old high school

Proving the old adage about the squeaky wheel, community outcry in Pacific Heights reversed a decision by City College of San Francisco to move into a former public high school site.

Newcomer High School, a 400-student public school that served teenagers who are recent immigrants, was housed last year within a school district building in Pacific Heights. When San Francisco's school board decided to close, merge and relocate some schools last January as a cost-cutting measure, they decided to move Newcomer in order to cash in on the high lease value expected for a building in the tony neighborhood.

Despite protests from Newcomer staff and parents — as well as District 2 Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier — the school district made plans to lease the building to the community college for a reported $700,000 a year. The battle raged on however, with neighboring residents joining in with concerns over the traffic that the older students would bring to the area.

In June, City College officials decided to withdraw their offer. In a letter to the college's board of trustees, obtained by The Examiner, Chancellor Phillip Day acknowledged, “As misguided as the neighborhood group is in asserting its opposition to us they do not intend to back off, and are currently in the process of raising monies for a legal defense fund.”

The district is still hoping to lease out the building, Board of Education President Norman Yee said, adding that Newcomer will be relocated to a school building in the Sunset District.

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