Thursday, December 12, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
April 23, 2013
FALLS CITY -- A charter school in Falls City?
That's the question a committee of school officials, city council members and teachers are exploring.
Falls City Athletic Director Dennis Sickles is leading the committee, which the Falls City School Board authorized after Sickles suggested the district look into the idea.
Falls City combines with Kings Valley Charter School (KVCS) on several of its athletic teams and Sickles said a KVCS representative suggested the district look into a charter school.
Sickles said his concern -- and reason for considering the idea -- is the district's insecure funding situation, partially caused by a trend of declining enrollment.
He brought the idea to Bob Young, the board chairman, who was supportive of the suggestion.
"I think we are exploring all of the options. That is what we are doing," Young said, adding other schools of similar size to Falls City, including Triangle Lake and Eddyville, have started charter schools with success. "I said absolutely look into it. It doesn't hurt to look into it."
Sickles said the committee is tasked with exploring the start-up process and its feasibility in Falls City.
"We are looking at the needs, the possible focus of a charter school and the kind of community and staff acceptance it would have," Sickles said.
The committee has held several meetings already and is in the process of gathering information from other districts with charter schools.
Sickles said he had recently heard start-up grants for charter schools may be temporarily unavailable, which would have an impact on timing if the district were to choose to set up a charter school.
However, the committee hasn't gotten so far as to make a recommendation yet. Sickles said he is in the process of organizing a meeting with teachers to see what they think of the possibility. Sickles was slated to provide the school board with an update on the process Monday evening.
He said the committee hasn't placed any restrictions on what form a charter school may take, whether it be at the elementary school level, high school level or both.
"At this point, I'm wide open," he said.
Young said the board will give any future recommendation full consideration.
"Right now we are trying to get as many options available to us to help put together a better school," he said.