Schoolyard bully - Page 3

A charter high school uses legal threats to squeeze into Horace Mann Middle School without notifying parents or teachers

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As the school year draws nearer, Horace Mann staff hopes for ways to get past this messy situation. "I hope Envision doesn't feel the need to retaliate against the public school system, and that they think twice before they threaten a lawsuit because it's easy and it's the first thing they go to," a Horace Mann teacher told us. "I hope there are lessons learned on both sides about how to do this successfully in the future. I think it can be a positive experience — co-location doesn't have to be hard."

But Wynns and Norton fear Metro will pressure the district to let the charter school remain at the site, whether or not students and parents there now think it's a good fit. "I will be very surprised if their Prop. 39 request [for facilities following this school year] will not say Horace Mann — and I believe [it] will," Wynns said of Metro.

"I want us to do everything in our power to protect ourselves against that happening [Metro extending its stay at Horace Mann]," Norton said. "I don't know precisely what that would be, but I think we have to take steps to make it clear that the site is unavailable for them next year."

With an uncertain future, Horace Mann will open its doors to Metro this month, becoming either another example of a growing partnership or another public facility fallen prey to charter school takeover, depending on one's perspective.

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