School shuffle raises concerns

While not as controversial as school closures, the planned relocation of several San Francisco high schools is ruffling the feathers of school staff and parents, as well as city leaders.

One of the high schools is a charter school, another serves new immigrants who come to The City, and the third school campus is for teens who have struggled in mainstream high schools.

Leadership High School, a charter school that has received recognition for its work serving African-American and Latino students, is currently located in a former elementary school site near City College of San Francisco. Although the school was built for 250 students, Leadership has 400 students and has asked the district to provide it with a new site.

After rejecting several site offers from the district, Leadership is now considering an offer to share facilities with Balboa High School. Although Leadership officials did not respond to calls for comment, a voice message on the school’s phone line indicates that parents have had “concerns and questions” about the move, despite the fact that Balboa is only a few blocks away and the two schools serve similar populations of students.

School officials and parents at Balboa are also questioning the feasibility of two high schools sharing one site.

Balboa Principal Patricia Gray said her main concern is that Leadership High would take over classroom space that is currently used for support services, such as college advising, peer counseling and gang prevention programs.

“The schools have two different philosophies,” said Balboa Principal Patricia Gray. “I keep things very tight, and I think they're a little more liberal.”

Across town in Pacific Heights, Newcomer High School, which serves recent immigrants, has recently learned that it will share space with Mission High School because its uptown facilities will be leased to City College.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is protesting one of the relocation plans because it will entail closing an existing elementary school and merging it with another nearby campus.

Despite a recent ordinance that would provide the district with $660,000 of city funds to reverse a decision by the school board to close John Swett Elementary School, the district has already made plans to move three county high school programs that serve struggling teenagers into that site.

Although community advocates have asked for years that Phoenix High School be relocated from the Mission District, Mirkarimi expressed concern that putting the three schools of troubled teens together could be “potentially very reckless.”

The school district official overseeing the planned relocations is on vacation and not available for comment, but district spokesperson Lorna Ho said the district would be holding meetings to address community concerns about the moves.

“Anytime there's change — whether it be a closure, merger or relocation — there's always concerns,” said Ho. “But it doesn't mean it isn't going to work out.”

Bay Area NewseducationLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes in leadership at SFPUC spark concern, hope for future water policy

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Supervisor Shamann Walton joined with community members to speak out against rising homicides, which have taken a heavy toll in the Bayview-Hunters Point in 2020. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F Examiner)
SF homicides surpass 2019 total with month left in year

Police attribute rise to COVID-19, shootings and deadly gang violence

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said he expected San Francisco to enter the purple tier within days.
Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner
SF still in the red but expects move into purple tier ‘some time soon’

Four more counties moved into highest COVID-19 risk category by state

Most Read