Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/25/2010 08:59:05 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – After weeks of meetings downtown and in the community, the school board discussed final plans on what to do about 11 district schools at a special meeting Tuesday evening.

At five of the San Bernardino City Unified schools that recently landed on a list of lowest performing in the state, the principals will be replaced and a new evaluation process will be put in place for teachers.

The other six are slated to become district-run charter schools, ranging from vocational trade schools to academies focused on technology and boosting the skills of English learners, African-American and special education students.

The decision on who would govern the six generated the most heated discussion at the meeting.

“A decision needs to be made for the six charter schools and I believe we are in a better position to get grant money with the plan we are presenting tonight,” said Superintendent Art Delgado.

That plan, changed from one originally presented to the board, includes creating six site-based cooperative groups for each school comprised of parents, teachers and other stakeholders.

Their duties would be governing and monitoring.

In addition there would be a Promise Neighborhood Partnership, made up of Mayor Pat Morris, university and community college representatives, the superintendent, a board member and others.

The prominent group would promote the mission of the charter schools.

The role of the board of education in all of this would be to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of each charter school.

Morris has long been a proponent of the partnership to bring a shared vision and leadership to the district.

And on Tuesday, he expressed uncertainty about the plan for six co-op groups.

The mayor’s idea is to create a seven-member board comprised of himself, Cal State San Bernardino President Al Karnig, San Bernardino Valley College President Debra Daniels, school officials and county representatives.

“I strongly endorse the idea of a partnership to bring all of these resources to the table because we have to have a radical change here,” he said.

Daniels, who also attended the meeting, stressed the partnership is not the white knight coming to the rescue, but simply people who are bringing their experience to the table.

As of The Sun’s deadline, the school board had not decided what action to take on the staff proposal.

The schools slated for this restart model are Pacific High School, Shandin Hills Middle School and Hunt, Davidson, Rio Vista and Wilson elementary schools.

School board President Danny Tillman said he supports the idea of six separate governing bodies for the campuses because it makes the most sense in these times of change.

“I’m not opposed to trying something new, but it’s a control issue, and I feel the school board needs to have ultimate authority over these schools to avoid frustration and confusion in the community,” he said.

His sentiment was shared by school board member Elsa Valdez.

“I feel comfortable with these boards or co-ops coming up with ideas to best meet the needs of the schools, but I want to make sure we still have oversight,” she said.

The plan for Pacific High is for it to be a new career technical school, while at Shandin Hills the focus will be on technology and support for the total adolescent.

At Hunt, the goal will be to bring real-life experiences to students, while at Rio Vista there will be an alternative bilingual program.

Davidson would be a literacy academy and also center on music, art technology and science enrichment.

At Wilson, there would be greater attention paid to high-achieving students and the establishment of a technology rich learning center.

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