S.F. neighbors feel duped by charter school

San Francisco school officials were grilled Thursday regarding a recent decision to lease Newcomer High School in Pacific Heights to a charter-school operation that will serve students from Marin.

Last week, the San Francisco school board agreed to rent the campus on Jackson Street to Envision Schools, which operates a handful of Bay Area charter schools, in 2007-08 for $250,000.

Envision’s plan to relocate its Metropolitan Arts and Technology High School in Bernal Heights to Newcomer, while also busing more than 100 Marin County students to the site, enraged Pacific Heights residents and prompted Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier to call a hearing on the matter.

The residents said they felt duped by the charter’s plans, as the announcement regarding Marin County students came only days before the Board of Education approved the lease. They said the charter would create traffic problems in an already congested area and steal seats from San Francisco students.

District General Counsel Miguel Marquez said the district’s hands are tied when it comes to the student populations of charter schools, which are not subject to state mandates and operate autonomously from the sponsoring districts.

Many residents are opposed to the currentmakeup.

“We support public-education schools for our San Francisco students who can get to this neighborhood by public transportation or on foot,” said Lynne Newhouse Segal, a board member for the Pacific Heights Residents Association.

arocha@examiner.com

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