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E.V. Cain excitement over charter possibility

By: Bridget Jones Journal staff writer
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E.V. Cain Middle School’s possible charter status had community officials feeling hopeful and excited this week. The board of trustees for the Auburn Union School District was expected to vote on the school’s status at Wednesday night’s board meeting. Michele Schuetz, superintendent of Auburn Union School District, said a charter focusing on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, is an exciting possibility. Schools are given a sum of money upon the decision to make them charter. After that, yearly funding is also available, said Clark Gehlbach, president of the Auburn Union School District board of trustees. “If we are accepted, then that will come with a reasonable amount of money, which we will use to upgrade the technology at E.V. Cain,” Gehlbach said. The charter is focused on 21st century learning and preparing students for high-tech jobs, hopefully in Placer County, Schuetz said. Schuetz said the interest in charter schools has been steadily growing in the area, and the district knew it was time to consider the option. “We have discussed charter schools for several years,” she said. “We have a lot of charter schools around us and some parents want to go to a charter school, and we want to keep our enrollment steady.” E.V. Cain is also an ideal place for charter status because of its enrollment trends, Schuetz said. “E.V. Cain’s enrollment is holding steady, so we decided to go forward,” she said. Seventy-five percent of E.V. Cain’s staff voted for charter status in April. Schuetz said becoming a charter school might actually help keep some programs intact. “More funding would make them more able to purchase more equipment,” she said. “E.V. Cain has wonderful electives, and without doing something to increase revenue, that might be considered as something to cut in the coming years.” Charter status would also give parents more choices with their children’s school schedules. Students could participate in a regular five-day school week, home schooling or a combination of both, Schuetz said. “There are some students that maybe just want to come for band or a high-level math class, but for other subjects they’re at home,” said Randy Ittner, principal of E.V. Cain. “Every student learns differently, and it just gives options for parents.” Ittner said he is excited to find ways to integrate technology into the classrooms. “It allows us to go above and beyond,” he said. “There are so many possibilities. It just gives you options you don’t have when you’re not a charter school.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com