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County Superintendent to sponsor Forest Charter

Ryan Salm/ Sierra SunDan Hurley, a music teacher at Forest Charter School, teaches music students a Beatles tune Thursday. Forest Charter School is changing charter sponsors from Twin Ridges Elementary School District to direct sponsorship under the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools.
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Forest Charter School will undergo a change in sponsorship this summer from the Twin Ridges Elementary School District to the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools.

Forest Charter, located in Truckee’s Pioneer Commerce Center, and four other charter schools will form the Nevada County Charter Cooperative beginning July 1 under direct Nevada County schools supervision, surpassing any district authority. A charter school alliance under county direction has never before occurred in California.

“This is a unique concept of putting five charter schools under the county office,” said Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Terence McAteer.



The cooperative involves a structural change, lending more autonomy over budgets and resources directly to the schools, essentially putting more dollars into the classroom, McAteer said.

“The idea is that they’re working completely, cooperatively together,” he said.



The alliance will bridge relations between the schools, strengthen communications and allow them to tap into a supportive educational network, said Forest Charter Executive Director Sandy McDivitt.

The switch from Twin Ridges Elementary School District to Nevada County will bear no visible effect on students, parents or teachers, McDivitt said.

“Our program here is not changing at all,” said Janice Eggers, coordinator of the school’s Pioneer Center location. “The students won’t see a difference.”

Visible changes will be made in the school’s payroll services and fiscal oversight, added Debbie Ayala, the school’s business director.

“I think we will have much more efficient business services with Nevada County,” McDivitt said.

Even though the school must undergo a formal closure, complete a new charter application and reopen as a new school under Nevada County, no changes will be made to the school’s philosophy or programs, McDivitt said.

Each school within the cooperative will maintain the educational philosophy spelled out in its charter mandate.

“We will maintain our school name and the variety of innovative programs we currently offer,” McDivitt said in a newsletter to parents and students.

The changeover should be a smooth process, said McAteer.

“It’s all in the state process right now. It should be very simple; no one will know that anything happened,” he said.

The Twin Ridges superintendent said the district is helping to make the switch work.

“We are working collaboratively to make it a smooth transition and wish them well,” said district Superintendent Larry Meek.

Twin Ridges is downsizing its capacity to encompass a few smaller schools, said McDivitt.

“We’re very proud of what’s happening everywhere,” McDivitt said.


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