About 400 parents pull kids out of Livermore charter schools

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of students are not showing up for class at two Livermore school on Tuesday.

Livermore Valley Charter Prep School and Livermore Valley Charter School are wrestling with parental outrage and accusations of financial mismanagement.

Livermore Superintendent Kelly Bowers says about 400 parents have decided to pull their kids out of Livermore's charter schools this week and put them in public schools.

Some are still trying to decide what to do and some teachers have also called her, worried, because they haven't received their retirement payments.

"We did meet with about 28 teachers who are very concerned from the charter school, who were worried about their STRS payments. They were worried about their paychecks that had come late sometimes. And they're very concerned about their own future," Bowers said.

Administrators say they have been investigating the schools since February and are doing their best to try and get the schools back on track.

"It's almost never in the best interest of students to shut down schools. So that's not a direction that we want to go, we want them to fix their problems," Asst. Superintendent Chris Van Schaack said.

The problems, according to Livermore administrators, include not paying rent, not paying teachers and transferring foreign exchange students to Stockton against their will.

The last one has drawn the attention of prosecutors who are looking into whether a crime occurred.

"My understanding is false imprisonment, taking students against their will and moving them," Van Schaack said.

There were still plenty of parents rushing students into class Tuesday morning at the charter schools.

One mom said she has confidence the school will survive this. "We've gone through a lot of things in the last 10 years and we have made it through and I think we will make it through this time," parent Mindy Garrison said.

ABC7 News asked administrators if it looks like the company that runs the charter schools will fix the problems. "They're doing some things that are positive. It is unclear as to whether or not they are going to be financially viable," Van Schaack said.

When asked whether he thought parents should stay, Van Schaack said it's up to them and they have to do what's best for their child.

ABC7 News reached out to the company that runs the charter schools for comment but we have not heard back.
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