Sacramento City school district approves charter school plan

Close to 100 people backing a charter school at the shuttered Joseph Bonnheim Elementary School were rewarded Thursday night when trustees of the Sacramento City School Board voted 4-3 to approve the plan.

A charter petition – initiated by parents late last year – calls for the school to educate 323 K-6 students starting in the fall. The school in Sacramento’s south area is to have an agriculture theme and pursue a body-brain approach to teaching that incorporates physical activity into academic exercises.

Bonnheim Elementary was one of seven campuses closed last year due to falling enrollment.

About 25 people spoke in support of the proposed New Joseph Bonnheim Community School. And Trustee Gustavo Arroyo lauded the petition and the parent advocates and said, “I would have loved to attend as a child.”

The petitioners faced two critical staff reports by district staff. In a report, staff reviewers found the proposed educational program lacked clarity in governance and hiring matters. And they repeated warnings that the petitioners are unlikely to succeed in launching the charter school and did not meet state Education Code requirements in explaining programs.

But several board members said they found the plan for the school academically sound.

Voting to support the project were trustees Arroyo, Jay Hansen, Diana Rodriguez and Christina Pritchett.