New high school set to open and compete with Sweetwater Union High School District for students

Bayfront Charter result of community needs

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Chula Vista's newest school could come with a bit of controversy.

Bayfront Charter High School will open its doors this year to 150 students who otherwise would matriculate to the Sweetwater Union High School District. Bayfront, however, is under the umbrella of the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

The high school district has come under fire recently from protesting teachers; fire officials for not fixing broken fire alarms and even the mayor of Chula Vista called for new leadership in Sweetwater.

"A lot of the pressure for us has come from our community, our parents in wanting to be able to see us do something different with a smaller group of students," said Bayfront lead counselor Ryan Santos.

Schools get funding based on attendance. One hundred fifty students at roughly $5,500 per student would take about $825,000 away from Sweetwater every year.

"More competition is healthy," wrote Sweetwater trustee John McCann in a statement to 10News. "Sweetwater District must continue the educational reforms I have implemented like providing innovative technology in the classroom by providing our students with iPads."

Sweetwater Superintendent Ed Brand declined to comment.

Santos said Bayfront Charter is not a reaction to the high school district's problems.

"No, I don't think it's an indictment of what's being done at Sweetwater," he said. "I think it's a testament to what we're wanting to do for our kids."

Santos said the focus of the new high school would be on college and career readiness. It would be the first non-college on the South Bay city's bayfront as well.

"We're intentionally situating ourselves here where everything is happening," said Santos.  "We're looking to get a fleet of bikes and kayaks so that we can access the bayfront."

An open house is scheduled for Thursday night. Students will be selected by a lottery if Bayfront Charter gets more than 150 applications.

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