Parents may sue over High Tech High sale 

Parents of High Tech High Bayshore students may sue the school or its parent organization, High Tech High, after the Sequoia High School District board unanimously approved the purchase of the building from its owner Wednesday.

Impassioned parents and students begged the board to table its decision so they could have more time to negotiate with the school’s San Diego-based operators. However, the owner, who has remained anonymous, told the district it has had several other offers on the building at 890 Broadway, according to district Superintendent Pat Gemma.

Parents mobilized within days of learning last week that High Tech High Bayshore plans to close its doors at the end of the 2006-07 school year. The owner offered the building to Sequoia in mid-January. Many parents were angry that they had not been given more warning about the school’s chronic under-enrollment or pending sale.

"The decision is whether we purchase this building tonight or another business buys it tomorrow and it reverts to industrial use," board member Gordon Lewin said at the meeting Wednesday.

Parents were led to believe the school had a guaranteed charter for five years and that it owned the Broadway property, said Roy Salume, a Half Moon Bay resident whose son attends the charter school. They are now in talks with an attorney to consider litigation against the school or the parent organization, High Tech High.

"We believe promises were made to us and the sale of this was done without notice," Salume said, adding that property negotiations with school districts tend to take time. "It’s hard to believe this was a slam dunk."

Students were in tears after Wednesday’s vote.

"High Tech High has been like my second family," said freshman Nathan Dage, who said he did not perform well in other public schools. "I fell in love with the school at first meeting, and now I have a 3.0 (grade point average)."

Low enrollment and losses of $500,000 to $600,000 a year made it impossible to get ahead financially and purchase the building, according to High Tech High CEO Larry Rosenstock.

The High Tech High Bayshore board of directors will meet Friday to discuss Wednesday’s decision regarding the purchase of the building, the school’s director, Joe Feldman, said.

Although Sequoia officials acknowledged that they may consider the campus as a permanent home for its other charter school, Summit Preparatory High School, they had not approached Summit about that possibility, and Summit’s board will not discuss it until its March 7 meeting, according to Director Diane Tavenner.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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