TTUSD board nixes charters
The Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to deny both proposed Olympic Valley charter schools at last week’s regular meeting, stating both charters did not adequately meet the board’s criteria.
The lead petitioners for both charters now have the option to resubmit their applications to the county board of education. The board said it would show the petitioners the areas they felt were incomplete, so they could make the appropriate changes to their charters.
“These petitions as I see them are well-intended, but I have serious reservations,” TTUSD Board President Suzanne Prouty stated at Thursday night’s meeting.
She said she was concerned that both charter petitions did not state how the needs of special education students would be met in accordance with the law, or give an outline for state-required testing. She was also concerned that the charters didn’t identify or address audits.
“For me, as one board member, I feel the petition doesn’t meet the five criteria we’re looking at,” she said.
Board members reminded the lead petitioners, Adrienne Forbes for Sierra Preparatory School and Don Rees for Pacific Crest Academy, that they were bound to strict guidelines in approving the charters as a result of recent charter laws.
“You have to have a great specificity in a charter petition,” Prouty said.
Both proposed charters were designed to be year-round full-day schools, with an emphasis on college preparatory and outdoor field science.
Sierra Preparatory would be a kindergarten through 6th-grade charter, Pacific Crest, serving grades 7-12.
While board members commended the charter petitioners for their creativity, intent to create a year-round school option and solid educational programs, board members said there were just too many questions left unanswered.
While reviewing the charter petition for Pacific Crest Academy, board members expressed concern that there was a conflict of interest because Rees is the headmaster at Squaw Valley Academy, a private school, as well as the lead petitioner for the charter. Some board members felt the charter was a conversion of a private school to a public school.
“I have a problem with you being the lead petitioner and the head of Squaw Valley,” Prouty said to Rees at the meeting.
“You have not satisfactorily convinced me … that it is not a conversion.”
Rees stated again at the meeting that the two programs were separate.
Other concerns included transportation, employee rights, educational standards not being in line with the state’s requirements, and the needs of English-learners.
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