For those who know of it, 555 Post is a very nice, Tenderloin/Union Square building. I am quite familiar with this building as I briefly worked for the company that used to occupy its premises, Euro RSCG. They’re a design and ad agency that lives up to nearly all the bad stereotypes of agencies and has since moved over to Telegraph Hill.

555 Post has however been empty since they moved out back in June. It’s a cool building though as it used to be a gentlemen’s club and as such it has a full, dark wood bar in it as well as the old contours of a swimming pool that was in the basement with a subterranean gaming room. I swear you can still smell cigars and Scotch in the walls of the lowers floors to this day. The upper floors are relatively nondescript, but it’s within this history that apparently the SF Flex Academy is opening on the 7th as in next Tuesday. I really have no idea what this is and after searching around a good deal, I think I have even less. Officially they claim to be:

…a full-time, tuition-free public charter school located in downtown San Francisco, serving students in grades 9-12 from anywhere in the Bay Area.

California’s first full-time, five-days-a-week hybrid school combines the best of online education with traditional, onsite schooling. SF Flex uses the curriculum from K12, the largest provider of online learning for grades K-12, to offer courses in the core subjects (Math, English, History and Science) along with a robust catalog of electives. Students attend school in our building every weekday, are supported by professional, certified teachers, and can participate in extracurricular sports, activities, and clubs…

There’s a bit more than, but you get the drift. Unfortunately that’s about all you get. Trying to find anything else on their site that describes them in heavy detail is all but impossible. Furthermore, a search on SFGate turns up no related results for them which is really weird for a brand-new school opening up in the heart of the city. Also, they call themselves a “public school” yet they’re not listed anywhere as a San Francisco public school.

To further muddy the waters, when reading their PR announcement, I saw that the parent company of this, K12, is a publicly traded company based in Virginia. So, not only is it not a true public institution nor a non-profit, but it’s a private company that’s publicly traded. If anyone finds this to be a good idea, let me point my finger at the awesomeness that is our current publicly-traded, capitalism-based health case system that keeps me stocking up on the much cheaper meds whenever I visit those “commie” systems in Europe.

All of this is just weird and in case you didn’t get the point by now, I have serious doubts to this thing. An 11,000+ square foot building, despite being on the edge of the Tenderloin, is not cheap, and will cost about $400,000 in rent yearly. That’s why an ad agency (who regularly pulled in very, very fat contracts) left and it leaves me wondering how a learning institution that is in theory “free” (i.e. not charging the $25k a year that the AoA does) is able to fill the space and not be dodgy.