Strong academics have never been a concern for Old Town Academy, a San Diego Unified charter school in Middletown.
Whether it’s a product of innovative instruction, or has more to do with the fact that unlike at many traditional district schools, few OTA students live in poverty, test scores have remained consistently above the district average.
Yet the operational concerns – the practical matters of actually running a school – have posed challenges the school has yet to iron out.
That tension has played out in dramatic and odd ways at OTA. At the end of last school year, Tom Donahue, its founding principal, was fired. Then OTA moved forward on a merger with an out-of-town charter management corporation. Owing to the turmoil, the school lost its chance at $23 million – bond money the district makes available to eligible charter schools.