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SDUSD to end 'On-Loan' staff program with Gompers Preparatory Academy

Posted at 5:16 PM, Oct 27, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Parents at a charter school in Chollas View are sounding the alarm after learning the fate of their founder and current director is now uncertain.

This past spring, Patricio Ramirez graduated from Gompers Preparatory Academy with a full scholarship to San Diego State University.

"My son is first generation. This is a dream come true," said his mother, Theressah Rodirugez.

But Theressah and her husband Victor, who have another son in 9th grade, are suddenly worried for his future.

"I am heartbroken," said Victor Ramirez.

He's heartbroken after learning San Diego Unified plans to end a unique agreement to loan out staff to the school, which began when the school was founded in 2004.

"It was one of the lowest performing schools in the district. Very violent campus and gang infected," said school alum and education advocate Ellen Nash.

Nash says when the school made the switch to a charter school, the district agreed to loan out a handful of staff, including then principal Vincent Riveroll, along with college counselors and support staff.

"He changed the culture to a college-going campus," said Nash.

Nash says Riveroll set high educational standards, recruited and trained teachers, and implemented tutoring, after-school and summer school programs.

This past spring, nearly 100% of the school's senior class was college bound.

"In an underserved community, they have a star in that community," said Nash.

She worries it will turn into a fallen star without the school district's longstanding support, and the presence of Riveroll.

In a memo released by the school district, officials point out there is more legal liability in loaning out staff, as the district has ended these agreements district-wide, thus turning the schools into traditional charter schools.

School district officials points out the school already reimburses the them for the staff members' salaries. They're trying to confirm how much of the benefits - including retirement benefits - are also reimbursed by the school.

The school district is set to end the on-loan program in July 2021.