STOCKTON - With enrollment less than one-third of what was expected, a charter high school that opened only last week in temporary space at Sherwood Mall will shut its doors for the final time Friday after a 10-day run.The imminent closing of troubled Velocity International Science and Technology Academy leaves about 70 students looking for new schools and six teachers looking for new jobs as September reaches its late stages...
VISTA's brief existence followed a turbulent gestation period. It originally was established by parents and community members who had been affiliated with SECA and had unsuccessfully sought independence from Stockton Unified.Following the bitter independence struggle, VISTA turned to New Jerusalem. Last month, founding SECA Principal Michael Hall, who spearheaded VISTA's establishment, ceased to be affiliated with the new school. Hall's departure came amid murky circumstances...In late August, the school fired three teachers and the assistant principal, all of whom had left jobs in Stockton Unified to work for VISTA. Tilton said the school's enrollment was 220, not large enough to sustain a nine-teacher staff and an assistant principal but big enough for six teachers...On Sept. 9, VISTA's opening day, fewer than 70 students showed up. Tilton and New Jerusalem Superintendent David Thoming said they quickly realized the disappointingly small enrollment would not generate enough revenue - about $6,000 a year for each of the 70 students - to sustain the school...VISTA originally touted the opportunity it would give its students to graduate with two years of college credits. But no arrangement with college instructors was ever reached, and the fallback plan was to offer those credits through the online Education 2020 software..."The people who decide they want to start charters, there's a lot of freedom and flexibility ... but a lot of responsibility, also," [Mick Founts, superintendent of the county office] said. "I'm sure everybody involved had the best intentions in mind, but running a school isn't done just by good intentions. It's hard work. I think this is an example where folks didn't understand the challenges of opening a charter."
Velocity International Science and Technology Academy
“Stockton charter closing after just 10 days.” The Record (CA), 9/20/2012