School district holds public hearing for charter school

Following the opening of Berkeley Unified School District’s first charter schools last month, the district held a public hearing Wednesday to gather community opinions about a proposal for a new charter school.

The proposal submitted by Integrity Educational Center — a previous version of which was denied once before in June — will be reviewed and voted on by the board Oct. 12. By law, the district is required to approve a charter proposal if it meets the state guidelines.

James Madden, lead petitioner and principal of the proposed school, said that as a young man who grew up in the Berkeley area, he has vested interest in guiding troubled students to be successful.

“I can’t stand idly until all of these kids are out of the juvenile (hall) and are back to their mothers and fathers,” Madden said at the meeting.

Last year, the Revolutionary Education and Learning Movement, REALM, middle and high schools, were the first charter schools to be approved by the district’s board of education, and are currently the only alternative to Berkeley High School and the district’s continuation school, Berkeley Technology Academy. The charter school welcomed 200 combined sixth and ninth grade students this school year to its West Berkeley campus.

Weiru Fang covers local schools.