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Low Turnout Forces Charter School In Stockton To Close After Just 10 Days

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STOCKTON (CBS13) – Students were left with nowhere to go Thursday after their brand new high school was shut down.

The charter school had opened just 10 days ago. Now students and teachers are looking for answers as to why the school was forced to close their doors for good.

Most of us can remember starting high school, and how excited and anxious we all were. Now imagine having to experience that twice in a month.

The students who started at Velocity International Science and Technology Academy (VISTA) just two weeks ago already have to change schools.

“I really wanted to go to this school,” said student Andrene Hughes.

Hughes was just beginning to settle in at her new high school. But students and teachers learned yesterday of the surprising news their school was shutting down.

“I was like, ‘the school’s closing. We’ve only been here for two weeks,’” said Hughes.

Initially, 220 students had enrolled at the charter school, but on the first day of classes, only 70 showed up to its temporary location at the Sherwood Mall.

“When you’re looking at salaries and curricular materials, overhead things like that, rentals, things like that, it’s well beyond what the state’s gonna reimburse us for,” said Principal Jeff Tilton.

Tilton isn’t sure why so few students showed up, but with such low enrollment they had no choice but to close, he said.

“We have to do what’s best for the kids. That’s number one,” said Tilton.

As of Friday at noon, Tilton and six other teachers on staff will be unemployed — most of whom left other jobs with the Stockton Unified School District to teach at VISTA.

Hughes wonders if she’ll have the same opportunities back at Langston Hughes High, the school she left.

“When you graduate here, you don’t have to start from college from the beginning. You already have knowledge,” said Hughes.

VISTA was going to offer a program that allowed students to take college courses.

A small school fair was held so students could have the opportunity to meet with other schools about enrollment.

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