School board approves charter school proposal

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By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

A charter school proposal for the Salem-Keizer School District won approval at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting.

Action came several months after a similar proposal was tabled because the Salem-Keizer Charter Review Committee found it incomplete. The developers of the proposed Proficiency Academy of Salem-Keizer (PASK) provided additional information in October and December 2011, and the committee determined it to be complete.

Two concerns remained, but the committee found that they could be addressed through contract negotiation. One concern involved access to recruitment for children who were second-language learners and those who were in poverty. The other involved defining the legal relationship between PASK and the Redmond Proficiency Agency (RPA) regarding governance structures.

Michael Bremont, executive director of RPA, was one of seven people who spoke to the board in support of the charter school, which would be a high school. Before the board voted unanimously for the proposal, director Jim Green asked whether PASK’s board of directors would be local. Paul Dakopolos, counsel for the board, said it would.

Green asked for specifics on guaranteed academic performance. Mary Cadez, an assistant superintendent, said so far the performance in Redmond looked very good.

Noting that Bremont said timing of programs would be tailored to individual students, director Ron Jones asked if it could mean taking more than four years for some students to graduate. Bremont replied that most RPA students take four years, a sizable minority in three and a very few in five.

Nancy MacMorris-Adix, board vice chair, asked whether her understanding that PASK employees would work for the corporation that would operate it, rather than the district, was correct. Joe Grant of Keizer, charter school liaison for the district, said it was.

In other business, the board:

• Heard Gene Pfeifer of Silverton ask for reconsideration of closing Hazel Green and Rosedale elementary schools and opening one each in East Salem and South Salem. He argued that the moves would not be cost-effective.

• Approved employment contracts including that of Michael Maino as a temporary full-time orchestra teacher at McNary High School.

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