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Charter School Closes Its Doors

Students say a tearful farewell to their teachers as the district prepares to take over.

Students said goodbye to their teachers today as Temecula's newest charter school closed its doors.

Context Middle School ceased operation today due to a lack of funds, an official said.

"There wasn't enough money. It was a bad economic year," said Rose Ann Gasser, the school's principal.

To read more about what happened, .

The school will reopen on Wednesday, but will be run by the district and will have a whole new staff.

The charter school opened in August to give parents an alternative way to educate their children, one of the school's founders said. To read about the opening, .

The school went through a lot to get where in was, including securing a charter from the district and finding a location to hold classes.

The district in August agreed to rent space to the school at the 's headquarters. To read about the deal, .

Morale was low

Jason Charles' classroom would be unheard of at a traditional school. Students sat in a circle of five couches quietly today as he discussed the student's final lesson, a movie review.

He talks to his students casually -- calling some "dude," and telling another student it was time to "bail," or leave.

Some of his students said they are afraid the new staff will change all of this -- the couches, the assignments and Charles' cool, approachable style.

"I'm scared the teachers are going to be mean," said Tanner Burlile, 14.

Some left the traditional schools because they found it hard to learn there.

"I tried to get away from the public schools," said Maxx Parry, 14. "I don't do well with it, and it's kind of sucky that we don't get this style of teaching anymore."

Broken relationships

The students and teachers have been bonding for half a year, which will be hard, some said.

"It kind of sucks, because we have to start all over with new teachers and new routines," said Kylee Roberts, 14, an eighth grader in Charles' class.

Students were not the only ones broken up. A group of five mothers sat in the courtyard, two of them tearing up occasionally as they talked to each other about what to do next.

"What's hard about it is you're uprooting a child in the middle of the school year," said Michelle Bedard, a mother of a seventh-grade boy. "They've already bonded with their teachers."

Some parents said they were keeping their child in the school after the district takes over, but only for a lack of better choices.

"All the charter schools are full, all the middle schools are way too large and crowded," said Allie Romero Sosa, the mother of a sixth grade boy. "We don't want to send them into a place where all the friendships and groups were already created months ago. That would be like throwing them to the wolves."

Saying goodbye

Lacey Monson's sixth grade class had a goodbye party in full-swing at the end of the day.

Students hugged their teacher and each other as they left the room with their parents one-by-one, while others were singing and stomping along with Queen's "We Will Rock You."

"I'm really, really sad, and I'm going to miss (Monson) every single day," said Isabella Soltysinski, 11.

"(Ms. Monson) was even crying after she gave out our awards," said 11-year-old Zachary Friday.

Unanswered questions

Parents were left wondering how this could have happened.

"There was a lot of finger pointing in the rumor mill, but we still have no idea what happened," said Romero Sosa. "I don't know whether we'll ever have something like this again, unfortunately."

Momof3 February 11, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Really sad, I just summitted my daught's application couple months ago since she will be in 6 grade next year. Not good
KB February 13, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I'm sure the teachers union is happy.

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