ELVERTA (CBS13) — Parents are in a rush against time to save a local charter school that is set to close at the end of this year.
When Alpha Charter opened a decade ago in Elverta, it attracted national attention, establishing the first-ever baseball charter school in the country.READ MORE: Stagg High Stabbing Suspect Anthony Gray Ordered To Undergo Mental Evaluation
Its focus to help underserved students is why parents are fighting so hard to keep it open.
“As soon as he enrolled, I saw the difference in his inspiration, in his determination,” Latoya Bufford said of her son Lamont.
They say it’s a school in a class all its own.
Bufford is just one of the parents hoping to stop the doors from closing on its 44 students, including her son.
“I thought I was going to have a full four years here,” Lamont. “When I heard that, I was very upset.”
The Elverta Joint Elementary School District said it wasn’t an easy decision to close the school, but “because funding is based on enrollment, the school’s record-low enrollment put a tremendous financial burden on the district’s overall budget and puts all of our school programs at significant risk.”
“This school provides not just education and baseball training and special interest, it also creates an environment where kids can thrive,” parent Marion Henshaw said.
Senior Jaxon Byrd is going to Sacramento State on a full-ride scholarship and credits the school for his success.READ MORE: Boosted Californians Getting COVID At Twice The Rate Of Those Vaccinated But Not Boosted
“The things I’ve got, they are priceless,” he said. “They are things that are going to help me become the best, most successful person I can be in life.”
The Jerry Manuel Foundation is one of the charter’s biggest attractions led by the retired MLB player and manager who started the school in 2013.
“Very discouraged because we felt going into this year, we had at least three more years,” Manuel said of the potential closure.
Even if the school closes, Manuel plans to create an after-school program for students throughout Sacramento County.
“We still have a lot more work to do,” he said. “That’s very important to me that we continue to not only reach that area but reach the whole area.”
So what are the chances of keeping the school open? Parents say it will take $250,000 initially to help them run the school independently from the district. That’s a chance at a home run parents and students say they don’t want to miss.
“We are going to fight till the end,” Latoya Bufford said.
The district plans to revoke the school’s charter in June.MORE NEWS: Applications Now Open For $10K Grants For Sacramento Artists
The Elverta Joint Elementary School District says it wasn’t an easy decision to close the school. They issued this statement:
“Over the years, many students have benefited from the program offered by Alpha Charter, so I can assure you that the decision to revoke the charter and close the school was not made lightly, but I believe that it was the only responsible option the Board could take at this time given its declining and record low enrollment which resulted in a significant and untenable financial strain on the school district,” the statement explained. “Because funding is based on enrollment, the school’s record-low enrollment put a tremendous financial burden on the District’s overall budget and puts all of our school programs at significant risk.
“The Board of Education takes great efforts to make decisions that are in the best interest of all 259 students who are served by our district. Continued charter operation is projected to cost the district approximately $635,000 annually with its enrollment only generating $415,000 per year. When you consider this cost for the current 44 students served, the Board was advised that it was threatening the financial solvency of the district as a whole.”