Reporting Steve Large
LINCOLN (CBS13) – There was a confrontational exchange between parents and administrators after students were left with no place to learn when a pair of Horizon Charter Schools suddenly closed..
Some parents and ex-teachers aren’t satisfied administrators are telling the truth about what led to the shutdowns.
At the center of this controversy are hundreds of kids — children whose classes have been changed or canceled. But on Thursday, it was mostly the grown-ups getting fired up.
There was more Horizon hostility at a board meeting.
“We were expecting to be able to address the board on the idea of why was (Accelerated Learning Academy) closed,” one parent said.
The Horizon Charter Schools’ board meeting began with a battle at the front door.
“Instead, they’re shutting us out,” the parent said.
Security initially blocked people from the school administration building on news the meeting was filled to capacity. Angry parents and ex-teachers claimed Horizon had organized supporters to fill the room early. Those supporters claim the outrage was better characterized as “antics.”
“The reality is the antics of some of the former parents and teachers, unfortunately, has drawn a lot of negative attention to a situation where not all the facts are known,” said Horizon Teachers’ Association spokesperson Rafael Ruano.
An overflow room for the public meeting was eventually created, and frustration filled the school board chamber.
“I have looked this man in the eye, and have asked him questions over and over again,” said a frustrated parent.
Horizon’s CEO Craig Heimbichner read from a prepared statement, “Horizon Charter School is reviewing all financial transactions that contributed to this problem.”
Horizon abruptly closed two of its programs last semester, citing traffic safety in one case.
Some parents and teachers are alleging mismanagement of public funds and ethics violations. Now that those programs are gone, some are calling it an inexcusable absence.
“Are you aware that there are still students not in a school? Are you aware that most schools in Rocklin, Lincoln and Loomis are full,” said a frustrated parent.
Nearly 500 children were enrolled in the Horizon programs that were cut. Some of those students are now at a makeshift study hall in a church where the parents pay the rent, and the kids use donated supplies.