Panel backs plan for charter district |

Panel backs plan for charter district

A council representing one of the largest blocks of students in the Twin Ridges Elementary School District has endorsed a plan to create the state’s fifth charter district.

Members of the Twin Ridges Home Study Charter School’s Charter Council Thursday officially endorsed the plan, saying the charter status would protect the integrity of the 110-student program and keep funding levels locked in for many years to come.

“We have to do this in order to maintain some stability,” said Greta Broda, the school’s principal. “We’ve received assurances that our school charter will be unchanged.”

The San Juan Ridge-area district, which serves approximately 1,000 students in traditional as well as charter schools, including the home-study program, plans to address the issue at its Feb. 12 board meeting.

The move to become a charter district stems from a proposed reduction in state education funds, which could result in a $1.5 million cut in the school district’s budget next year.

By becoming a charter district, Twin Ridges could keep funding at about $6,000 per student, $1,500 above the funding provided by the state.

“By endorsing this, we will be on an even playing field with the rest of our schools,” said Dolly Oliver, the school’s business office coordinator.

The district must beat a June deadline to approve the plan. It must be placed on the state Board of Education’s agenda by May. The petition must be submitted to the state by Feb. 15, three days after the Twin Ridges board addresses the issue.

At least 50 percent of the district’s teachers must endorse the charter plan before it is proposed to the Twin Ridges school board.

In addition to the home study program, Twin Ridges includes two elementary schools, a charter high school, Nevada City School of the Arts and numerous satellite campuses throughout the state’s northern and coastal regions.

Endorsing the charter will create a stable funding source for the program, which features individualized and tailored instruction, Broda said.

“Without this charter, we would be left vulnerable to legislative whim.”

The school was founded in 1978 as an alternative site and became the state’s 26th charter school in 1993.

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