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Helix High May Lose Charter

— The Grossmont Union High School board of trustees, which oversees Helix High School, has voted to issue a letter of intent to revoke the school's charter.

The board, concerned about the school's handling of an administrator who is accused of aiding a student run away, voted 4-0 Thursday night to issue the letter, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. A public hearing on the matter was expected to be held next month.

Helix supporters said they would fight to keep their charter and accused the district of secretly wanting to control the school for financial reasons, the Union-Tribune reported. District officials have denied the allegation.

The incident last fall in which former Vice Principal Josh Stepner drove a troubled student to a bus station so she could go see her grandmother in Oregon was not the first controversy at the La Mesa school.

In recent years, four Helix educators have been individually convicted in teacher-sex scandals.

Stepner was not accused of any sexual misconduct with the student he aided, but he has been charged with one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was fired from his job at Helix after the scandal broke.

Charter schools must receive permission from a school district to operate as an independent entity that uses public money that would otherwise go to the district. Without a district's blessing, the money allotted to the charter goes back to that district.

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