Higher Learning Academy
Higher Learning Academy opened in one of the toughest areas of Sacramento in fall 2007. It was a small charter school with a big vision to bring the rigorous Core Knowledge education program to historically underperforming students in North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights.
The school initially opened in a small, dilapidated church. The teachers used five small Sunday school rooms to teach 50 students in grades K-3. In 2008-09, school leaders negotiated a lease for a larger facility that, while also dilapidated, had formerly been a hospital. When the building owners were unwilling to make desperately needed improvements to the facility.
The Twin Rivers Unified granted them the humble Plover Street campus. One year later, the student enrollment had doubled at Higher Learning Academy. Leaders behind Higher Learning Academy submitted a letter to the district before the November 1 deadline, requesting changes to their lease agreement and a long-term lease at the Plover Street site.
Despite many obstacles and challenges, Higher Learning Academy pressed forward. When the district failed to respond to their initial letter, they worked with the Association to educate the district about state law and the Proposition 39 process. Soon, they received a response from the district: Twin Rivers was offering the site at a better rate, but refused to acknowledge Higher Learning Academy’s right to use Proposition 39 as a framework for negotiating facilities, because of the language in the school’s charter.
Higher Learning and Twin Rivers Unified continued to exchange letters. Each time the district refused to acknowledge Proposition 39. Finally, by the spring of 2010, the Facility Use Agreements were drafted, and Higher Learning Academy was granted a multiyear agreement for the Plover Street campus. By July 2010, the multiyear Facilities Use Agreements with agreed upon terms were signed by both the district and the school.