Alta Vista Charter approved by board

Families anticipate having another choice
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Union School District Board of Trustees voted to move forward with its plans to open a charter school at the former site of Alta Vista School Wednesday night, providing it is financially feasible. School board members say they are excited to be able to provide families with another local choice in education. Superintendents of other local charter schools say while there is some competition among charters, it is important that families continue to be provided with more choices. Some parents of local charter school students say it was a choice they were glad to have. The charter will offer students the option of taking independent study classes, as well as on-site classes or a combination of both. Like the district’s other charter, E.V. Cain Charter Middle School, it will have curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math and allow for more flexibility in teaching methods. Daniel Berlant, board president, said the name was changed from the originally proposed Canyon Vista Community Charter to Alta Vista Community Charter School. “We are excited that the charter will provide an alternative education option to students in our community,” Berlant said. “The name of the charter was changed to Alta Vista Community Charter in order to respect the 100-plus year history of Alta Vista School.” For the charter to be considered financially sound 85 students need to attend the first year, he said. “We hope that the new charter will not only keep current students from leaving our district, but also attract new families who are looking for an alternative education option,” Berlant said. Gary Yee, superintendent of the Ackerman School District and principal of its only school, Bowman School, said charter status has enabled the school to have the funding needed to continue offering a full-range of programs. He said while there is competition among charter schools, it is positive that families in the area will have another choice. Each of Bowman’s grade levels has a wait list that could easily create another class he said, but space constraints limit the school’s enrollment. “Now with the charge from the state that they are encouraging more charters to come through, it is all about family having more choices,” Yee said. “The upside is you have more options for those families. The downside to that is it begins diluting what public school is all about.” Ritch and Debbie Shefke have children that attend Bowman and said they have seen some of the benefits of the school being a charter. “It’s not as bureaucratic. It’s like a little family. They haven’t seen the budget problems that other schools do,” Debbie Shefke said. Katye Seuckrath was picking up her grandson Aiden Dent Thursday at Bowman School. She said her daughter attended Placer High School when it was transitioning from a charter to traditional school, but didn’t notice much of a difference other than a slight modification in the schedule. Her son and daughter-in-law were eagerly hoping their children would get into Bowman, though. “Julie and Kyle just sweated it out to get the kids in here and they are just so happy they got in,” Seuckrath said. The O’Connor family lives near Alta Vista School and was happy to learn a charter would open there instead. “My family was saddened when Alta Vista School was shut down a few years ago for it was my son's neighborhood school that was closing,” Darrin O’Connor said. “We now find ourselves optimistic about the future of Alta Vista, and look forward to sharing in reaping the benefits that are inherent when a neighborhood has a school.” Reach Sara Seyydin at, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News. ______________________________________________________ Learn more To read a copy of the Alta Vista Community Charter, or to inquire about registering your child, visit, or call (530)885-7242