ALAMEDA -- School district trustees have approved a lease for Community Learning Center Schools Inc. to move its two charter schools into the former Woodstock Education Center, a move that follows the center's governing board abruptly terminating two top administrators at one of the schools.
The 11-year lease that trustees approved Tuesday will begin in July and calls for at least 75 percent of the students at the Nea and the Alameda community learning centers to be Alameda residents, and for the percentage to increase over the next three years until it reaches at least 85 percent.
If the schools fail to meet the target and other enrollment criteria over two consecutive years, the district has the right to reclaim part of the site at 1900 Third St.
Trustee Trish Spencer cast the lone vote against the deal, saying she was concerned the district was getting locked into such a long-term lease, especially given the district's projected enrollment increase. But Superintendent Kirsten Vital said the enrollment will be addressed in the district's master facilities plan.
The learning center's Board of Directors unanimously approved the lease April 17, when it also voted to place Nea's top administrator Maafi Gueye and Chief Financial Officer Lina Miura on paid administrative leave.
While the move prompted students to walk out of classes in protest five days later, the board decided to formally end the employment of Gueye and Miura on April 24, despite some parents and students calling for the pair to be reinstated.
Officials with the learning center are not commenting on the terminations, citing employee confidentially.
Some parents said they fear the loss of administrators is actually part of a decision to eventually merge the two charter schools after they open at the Woodstock site.
But in an email to parents after the ouster of Gueye and Miura, the learning center's Executive Director Patti Wilczek said the board does not intend to close Nea's Upper Village program, which serves sixth- through 12th-grade students, "and any statements to the contrary are false."
"Education at Nea is a cultural experience -- it is vibrant and alive," parent Daniel Davenport said. "The relocation of Nea will give its stakeholders a long-term platform to evolve further, while maintaining its culture, which prioritizes democratic governance and project based learning."
The lease with the school district will expire in June 2025 and allows the learning center to sidestep the requirements for acquiring the Woodstock location under Proposition 39, the law passed by California voters in 2000 that aims to allow all public school students equal access to facilities, including those who attend charter schools.
The lease with the school district also comes as the learning center has worked out a memorandum of understanding with the Alameda Boys and Girls Club, also on the Woodstock property, to use the club's facilities.
Among the agreement's terms are for the learning center to have exclusive access to the club's gymnasium and art classroom on weekdays, except for a half-day on Wednesdays, and to share office space.
Rent is $1,000 a month, plus the center must pay custodial fees and agree to promote the club's programs to students and parents. The agreement would begin in Aug. 25 and run through June 11, 2015.
The Alameda Community Learning Center, currently at 400 Grand St., opened in 1992 and serves middle and high schoolers, including offering them classes through the Peralta Community College District.
The charter school's success led the organizers, including Gueye, to create Nea in 2009 at 500 Pacific Ave. It offers a program for kindergarten through fifth-grade students, as well as the Upper Village program for older students.
The nonprofit Community Learning Center Schools Inc. manages the two schools.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.