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Norton Science and Language Academy, San Bernardino County supervisors square off over school property

By in Press Enterprise on January 11, 2018

By Beau Yarbrough, Joe Nelson

Depending on who you listen to, San Bernardino’s Norton Science and Language Academy is either squatting on public land or is making the most of a bad deal after funds they were counting on didn’t come through.

But what both sides agree on is that San Bernardino County wants the land the school is using back.

On Tuesday, representatives of Norton, the Lewis Center and the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) pleaded with the Board of Supervisors to renegotiate the lease and allow the charter school to stay put, criticizing the county for sending the school an eviction notice on Christmas Day.

They stressed the school’s value, saying students leave Norton knowing three languages – English, Spanish and Mandarin – and receive a broader education in the arts as well, programs that have been on the chopping block in the public school system due to budget cuts.

“The hundreds of families, residents and taxpayers of this school have made a home at 503 E. Central Ave., and want to stay in the home that they have built, a home may I add where they hold a legal and valid lease for another 10 years,” said Fatima Cristerna-Adame, Southern California Managing Regional Director of the California Charter Schools Association, which represents more than 1,200 charter schools statewide.

She urged the county to negotiate in good faith with the school.

“Never have I seen a county try to make a profit off the backs of children. Please meet with our families and explain why you are trying to evict them, without just cause, on Christmas Day,” Adame told the board.

NSLA Principal Fausto Barragan invited county supervisors to visit the school to see the “great things” going on in the classroom daily.

“Norton is a unique and exceptional learning community. It is an asset to the city of San […]    

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