City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

February 9, 2011
Sac High getting recruitment go-ahead

Sacramento Charter High School is as big a political lightning rod as anything in this city. A part of that has been the debate over whether the school - operated by a nonprofit formed by Mayor Kevin Johnson - should be allowed to recruit students from city middle schools.

After years of being prohibited from that practice, the Sacramento City Unified School District is changing its policy.

District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond told The Bee's Melody Gutierrez today that "from here on in, it's not an issue. It's not a roadblock they will have to fight or deal with."

"I think the change is that they are all our kids," he told Gutierrez. "It's about having choice - this is an approved charter by our district and is supporting our kids and families. It's the right thing to do for kids. If parents want to choose, they should have that opportunity. It's about doing what's right."

That should make Johnson happy. I was at an Oak Park Neighborhood Association meeting last week at which the mayor spoke for nearly an hour. The first question he received from the audience was about Sac High's future (it's worth noting that the crowd had overwhelmingly favorable things to say about the school).

Johnson told the crowd that it was an "injustice" that parents with middle school-aged children living near Sac High had been told they should send their kids to other high schools. And he blasted the policy that prohibited Sac High from recruiting at middle schools.

"When we talk about inequalities and civil rights...that's just not right," he said.

It remains to be seen how this will impact Sac High. Gutierrez told me that most other high schools began recruiting in November and December, so this may do nothing for Sac High's enrollment for this fall.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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