New San Jose charter school delays opening yet again amid fight with district

Some San Jose parents are upset after the charter school they were planning to send their children to did not open on Monday.

They're pointing the finger at the South Bay's largest school district in an ongoing dispute, while district leaders say the school's leadership never finalized the necessary paperwork and say there have been warning signs for months that the school may not open as planned.

"A lot of frustration and a lot of anger," said Yolanda Bernal-Samano, a mother who lives in downtown San Jose.

The parents who did not want to send their children to their assigned public school had been hoping to send them to a higher-performing institution and set their sights on a yet-to-open charter school. 

For the second year in a row, the charter school which was established in 2017, isn't opening for classes.

"As a mom, I've been working to help create this school and have a place for my children to remain for the next number of years and we had everything set and we had our perfect school and it's been extremely emotional," said Adelita Gomez-Alvarez.

Promise Academy on its website is dubbed a small, free public school in San Jose.

According to a school spokeswoman, the school was supposed to open Monday with 96 enrolled students. 

Parents say the Tuesday before, San Jose Unified School District employees informed the school they wouldn't be able to use classrooms at Allen at Steinbeck Elementary School in South San Jose as initially planned.

"We had numbers. We had staff. We had funding. We had everything set up for our school. The one thing that stopped our school from opening was San Jose Unified," said Gomez-Alvarez.

San Jose Unified leaders disagree, saying the district is being made a scapegoat for a poorly managed institution that committed too late and changed its facilities request for fewer classrooms while lowering their initial enrollment figures.

"We've raised concerns with them throughout this process about uncertain enrollment numbers and whether or not they would be able to execute their agreement and unfortunately they didn't share that information with families, and we wish they did," said Public Engagement Office for San Jose Unified School District Ben Spielberg.

The parents who spoke with KTVU said they were able to get their children into other San Jose charter schools. 

"We've been fighting for 2 1/2 to 3 years already to get this school open. I don't know if there is a path forward," said Gomez-Alvarez.

Promise Academy has filed a second lawsuit against San Jose Unified and is waiting to see how that plays out.