Charter School Popularity

Jan 22, 2010 7:54 PM

Charter Schools continue to gain in popularity, as enrollment rises, but could the popularity turn into over-crowded classrooms?

Last year, 111 students were enrolled at Nord Country School, this year there are 128 and next year, there will be ten more.

Chico Country Day School is also growing, doubling in size over the last five years.

Mark Roberts is the parent of two students at Nord Country School and says his kids are happy to attend school there. "There's a little more flexibility with the Charter approach so if you as a parent agree with that approach than you know your child is getting educated as well or better than what the state may have in public schools."

By state law, the Chico Unified School District must offer facilities to all charter students in its district.

On February 1st, the district will give both charter schools a preliminary offer to compensate for any extra students, but there are other options explained Sara Simmons, Director of Innovative Educational Programs. "They can load to the same standard as Chico Unified does, in other words, students per teacher, that kind of thing. They can purchase their own portables and put them on campus, they can accept our offer of other facilities at other sites."

Although there are several options to accommodate any growth, school officials are hoping students will stay at their current locations.

Principal Kathy Dahlgren says she is not expecting any movement. "We are a small community school, so I can't see us dividing our classes between here and another campus, that defeats the purpose of being a small rural school."

Both schools will make a decision after they first consider the offer from the district.

Nord Country School has already bought four portable classrooms and is planning on purchasing one more for next year.

Both charter schools are not obligated to move their students. The district will make a preliminary offer by February 1st and the charter schools will respond by March 1st. A decision will be made in May.


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