Reporting Nick Janes
ROCKLIN (CBS13) – Parents are demanding answers from the board overseeing Horizon Charter School after the school shut down Wednesday with little warning, leaving hundreds of children with no place to learn.
Parents got just 72 hours notice the school was closing over what the CEO calls traffic safety concerns. Now there’s mounting pressure on the school board to find a new building. Parents say it’d better be soon or else they’re done.
“Everybody’s lives are falling apart,” said one mother at Thursday’s meeting. “We haven’t slept in days.”
Exhausted parents are nearing the end of their rope.
“This is absurd and it’s having a significant impact on the students,” said another parent.
One calls the board’s response “woefully inadequate.”
“No matter how this situation came to be, the trust in leadership is gone,” said a mother.
Thirty-five students out of nearly 400 have already left Horizon Charter School in the wake of the sudden school shutdown.
The rest are sitting at home. They don’t even have assignments. Teachers are still scrambling to make lesson plans for the so-called independent study. And more parents are on the brink of pulling the plug.
“Right now, what you need to give us, within probably a couple of days before everybody else jumps ship, is we will have a facility. No questions asked, no matter how many of you are left, and by this date,” said a student’s mother.
Horizon CEO Craig Heimbichner says he’s reviewing 20 options for a new site, but can’t promise he’ll meet the December deadline that some parents have set.
“We’ll make every effort. I can easily make a promise. It’s honoring the promise that’s the important part,” said Heimbichner.
Parents are demanding specifics while unsure of how long to wait.
“You can’t tell us, ‘hey, there are three sites.’ You can’t tell us what you’re doing. You can’t tell us anything,” a frustrated father said.
Most parents are hanging on because of the quality of the teachers, they say.
“Should any of them start to leave, you will bleed. And you’re gonna start bleeding unless you tell us what we have ahead of us,” said one mother.
Some parents are now working with the school board, giving input on potential new sites.
There’s some optimism, but the Dec. 13 deadline looms. Parents say if there’s no new school by then, they’re taking their kids elsewhere.