‘San Pasqual Academy is more than a school, it’s a home,’ says Professor Powell

ESCONDIDO (KUSI) – The state of California has written a letter dictating that the San Pasqual Academy, an educational and residential academy for foster kids, will be shut down in October.

According to the letter, low enrollment and changes in state and federal law are the reasons for closure.

Mark Powell, Former County Board of Education Vice President and adjunct professor, told KUSI’s Elizabeth Alvarez on Good Morning San Diego that the reason for declining enrollment is not up to the foster kids, but instead up to their judges, who have been placing them in foster homes rather than in SPA.

“People are trying to get schools open. At the same time we’re trying to get schools open, our legislators are trying to shut schools down. Make no mistake about it — the San Pasqual Academy is a school. They have a football field that was built by the Chargers when they were here. They have a softball field that was built by the Padres. They participate in sports,” Powell said, “But it’s more than a school, it’s a home. It’s where kids live. And throwing them out of their home in the middle of a global pandemic is heartless,” he added.

SPA has had a 97% high school graduation rate during its 20 years of operation.

Professor Powell recently wrote an Opinion Article in which he outlined what needs to happen to save this academy and the 70 kids still enrolled within it, those points being:

  1. Grant a 24-month extension on the closing or at least until we are completely out of the pandemic.
  2. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the San Diego County Office of Education need to work with our state legislators to reprogram resources to replace federal funding.
  3. California legislators to appropriately “recategorize” San Pasqual Academy, because it is one of a kind.

Valedictorian for SPA’s class of 2009, Simone Hidds-Monroe, recently joined KUSI to discuss the immense impact SPA has had in her life, and the lives of her three siblings.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News