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Charter School could open at former Alta Vista School site

Parents say they want options
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Union School District held a public hearing on a charter school that would be housed at the district’s current Alta Vista site. “It’s a K through 5. The name of it is Canyon Vista Community Charter School,” said Michele Schuetz, superintendent of the Auburn Union School District. “The premise of it is somewhat similar Montessori.” She said the format of the charter would be hybrid, enabling students to take independent study classes, learn in the classroom or a combination of both. The district already owns the Alta District site, which currently houses the Head Start Preschool. The preschool would remain on-site if the charter opened. The district’s board was scheduled to hear public comment on the matter Wednesday evening The board will evaluate several factors in the coming weeks, including if the school can be self-sustaining, she said. The eight classrooms at the sight could potentially house about 160 students. “A lot of the schools around us have become charter either because they want to do something different with curriculum or broaden their enrollment boundaries,” Schuetz said. “This charter is a little bit different because we know we have families that are going elsewhere because they are looking for an alternative type of education.” Alexandra Carnahan is one parent who has been involved in the charter school petition. She said she would consider sending her child their next fall. “A lot of the parents are parents that know they are not going to get into Bowman. They are pretty dismayed by Skyridge. The class sizes are so big and it tends to be geared toward teaching to the test,” Carnahan said. Carnahan said the parents are hoping for it to be a kindergarten through eighth grade format to keep things more familiar during critical years. “If it is a charter school it can be developed with a bit more unique focus, as opposed to some statewide identified need for A, B and C, as opposed to working for individual needs,” Carnahan said. “What I picked up from the group is it’s really kind of a mix behind your traditional schooling and your Waldorf schooling.” Jessica Schamber has two daughters who will be entering kindergarten in the next couple of years. She said the choices available with charter schools are appealing. Her children currently attend Waldorf School. “One of the most important things is that alternative curriculum. I want to take away the box. It seems charters offer that, but we don’t have that many charters,” Schamber said. “They saw that there was a need in the market and they were losing their students to out of district and we need to fill it. It’s down the street from my house. It’s a neighborhood school.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.