100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School Will Close Just 18 Months After Opening due to a Lack of Money

An Oakland public school created to serve African American males will shut down in January, just 18 months after it opened. 

Edward Ewell's first-grade class chants the morning "scholar holler" at the 100 Black Men Community School, which will close next month because of financial problems, low enrollment and staff turnover. Photo: Lacy Atkins, The Chronicle
The 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School, a public charter school, struggled financially and suffered administrative turnover as well as loss of enrollment during its three semesters of operation. Its last day will be Jan. 24.

The school, located at the former Thurgood Marshall Elementary campus in the city's southeast hills, had 120 students at the start of this school year and 75 this week.

Short of funds
"Our problem is a lack of money, not a mismanagement of funds," said Dr. Mark Alexander, a member of the school's board of directors. "This is the responsible thing to do."

Alexander believes the closure will be a hiatus to give the school time to reorganize, determine what went wrong and reopen in the next year or two.

"It's a setback for us," he said. "We've come too far to let this dream go."

Families and students were distraught this week after learning of the closure at a parent meeting Wednesday night.

"It's just very unfortunate to see something this positive to go in that direction after helping so many in the community," said John Cravanas, whose 6-year-old son is a first-grader at the school. "It is a devastating blow in our household."

On Thursday morning, Laura Pierre smiled as she watched the students perform skits and sing at the school's Kwanzaa celebration. She has two grandsons at the school, a preschooler and a second-grader.

She hadn't told the youngest one about the closure yet, "with Christmas coming and all." Even as she started searching for a new school with midyear openings for both boys, she was hoping for a miracle to keep the school open.

She knew that whatever school they landed in, it would not be devoted to the specific needs of African American boys, as was 100 Black Men Community.


Source: San Francisco Gate | Jill Tucker
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