The push to expand the KIPP network in San Francisco was at least momentarily halted last week after the city’s Board of Education turned down its proposal for a new elementary school in Bayview–Hunters Point, traditionally one of the city’s poorest and most heavily African-American areas.
In finding that KIPP was “demonstrably unlikely” to succeed, the board faulted provisions related to teacher training, safety, and discipline. It noted that KIPP’s other San Francisco schools have higher suspension rates than the district average.
The board did vote in favor of renewing the charter for KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory, one of the city’s highest-scoring high schools.
KIPP officials said they will file an appeal with the State Board of Education and still hope the proposed new school will open in the fall of 2018.
“I absolutely do not believe the findings were sufficient to deny our charter under California charter law,” said Beth Sutkus Thompson, chief executive of the KIPP Bay Area network, which includes 12 schools dotting the East Bay and San Francisco. She said the “financial situation of the district,” its efforts to slow attrition out of city schools, and the system’s “constantly shifting dynamics” make opening new charters difficult.