NCSD Rejects Charter School Application
On Monday, the Natrona County School Board of Trustees unanimously rejected an application presented by the Natrona Preparatory Academy, a charter school that was hoping to open next fall.
According to the application they submitted to the district, the charter school had hoped to achieve a 1:25 teacher-to-student ratio, purchase the former Roosevelt High School and Mountain View Elementary, and use a lottery system to determine enrollment.
Treasurer Dave Applegate said that he was rejecting the application because the charter school didn't provide a clear enough explanation for how it would incorporate Career Technical Education (CTE).
"The CTE idea is not well defined in the written documentation and you guys admitted to that, that it was a late add," Applegate said. "The evidence for community support is not strong, no one was here tonight to support you at the public hearing or at the public comment here. Again in other types of programs that we've had historically, we would have had a lot of public support. And there may be public support out there, and again timing might have been a big issue, but I just think having some show of support would have been really beneficial and it really wasn't there tonight. Our current middle schools already have shops and strong CTE programs. Doesn't mean they can't be improved, but again there seems to be a disconnect for me on this idea that you're gonna provide something unique when at least at that grade band level, we already have strong CTE programs. There was no clear vision of the facility needs, in other words, you got a concept for a school, but it had a unique curriculum and CTE and you hadn't really thought through what that meant for a building, and I think Mountain View needs significant renovations, and I think the time to make that happen is very challenging. I don't think that can happen in the time that you have."
Trustee Kianna Smith said that she was rejecting the application because, from their application, it didn't look like they would be ready to start next year.
"I do have concerns that you wouldn't be ready to open in the fall as well," Smith said. "Like Trustee Applegate mentioned, you identified the two buildings, but it looks like it'd be a pretty involved process to get to the point of getting those buildings being ready to be used for the school year. I'm not convinced that you would have staff ready to teach in the fall. There were some issues with compensation, and it didn't look like you had teachers who are currently working with you to open the school or who have identified that they were interested in working at the school. It didn't look like there were students who expressed interest in enrolling in the fall either."