Vantage Point Charter School remains viable |

Vantage Point Charter School remains viable

Ready Springs Union School District Board of Trustees

As members of the Ready Springs Union School Board, we feel that the community deserves a response to recent letters and news articles.

We are very proud of the Ready Springs School, the staff and students. We feel our school offers an excellent educational experience for all students. Under the direction of our Superintendent/Principal Merrill Grant, Ready Springs Elementary posted the highest test scores ever. Ready Springs Elementary is now among the top performing schools in California. To a large degree, these test scores reflect not only the leadership of our school, but also the excellence of the Ready Springs staff and the motivation of the students.

The campus is running smoothly, with a strong sense of community and positive school spirit. The combined efforts of outstanding faculty, support staff and dedicated volunteers have served our students well and prepared them to succeed at Nevada Union High School. Ready Springs graduates have been recognized as valedictorians at Nevada Union. Our students’ extracurricular and service involvements indicate Ready Springs provides a strong foundation for good citizenship.

It is unfortunate that the management of Vantage Point Charter School reached the point of directly affecting and jeopardizing the Ready Springs District budget. At that point, the Ready Springs Union School Board had very few options left. We cannot ignore our fiduciary duty to the taxpayers, or our responsibility to the voters within the district. These financial problems with the charter school have been ongoing for a number of years. In August, the county Superintendent of Schools office warned the Ready Springs Union School Board of a “qualified” budget due to the inadequate budget planning of the Charter School Council and director. The Board initiated tighter financial controls over the charter school; however, it was clear that the district would need to become far more involved in the administration of the charter school if it was to remain a viable, ongoing entity. These concerns were discussed at both the December and January Ready Springs Union School Board meetings. The issues confronting Vantage Point Charter School and Ready Springs Union School District became glaringly apparent in the February report from the county Superintendents of Schools, as well as the FCMAT report regarding Vantage Point’s attendance records/discrepancies. We, as a board, were forced to take action to protect both schools. We were required to remedy the situation, so that our current and future funding was not questioned and we could continue to provide a quality education to all students, whether they are enrolled in Vantage Point Charter School or Ready Springs Elementary.

We certainly recognize, value and honor the different learning modalities of students and the variety of ways education can be delivered to them. We recognize the desire of the community for alternative education and strongly support providing that opportunity in Penn Valley. The Ready Springs Union School Board moved to become the governing body of Vantage Point Charter School out of necessity, rather than malice. It is our hope that with sound fiscal management and a positive working relationship we can foster and maintain a fine charter school that will continue to serve the many children and parents that choose Vantage Point for its style and approach to learning.

A viable institution should always be larger than one person. If Vantage Point Charter School is valuable and important to the parents and students, should not consideration be given to the ongoing programs, rather than who is directing the program? Very little has changed in the classroom. The teachers continue to provide quality education to the students, the parents are more than welcome to participate in their children’s academic experience and, if anything, the teachers have even more support and resources available to them than before. Let us all put aside our differences, political or otherwise, and focus on the success of the children. After all, isn’t that what we are here for?

This article was written by members of the Ready Springs Union School District Board of Trustees – Stormy Trahern, Amanda Wilcox, Judy Ten Eyck, Pamela Wolfe and Angela Stewart. The district serves the Penn Valley and Rough and Ready communities.

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