A petition to start a new charter school in the Napa Valley Unified School District has been denied by the district’s board of trustees.
A small group of teachers had proposed to start a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school that would combine independent studies with traditional classroom learning. Students would be home-schooled three days a week using an online learning program and, for two days a week, students would be taught by a credentialed teacher in a classroom.
In October, lead petitioner Leslie Gracia said the goal was to attract local students who are currently enrolled in independent study programs not associated with the Napa Valley Unified School District. At Thursday’s board meeting, district officials said this was one of the many areas where the petition lacked sufficient evidence for implementing a successful program.
When calculating the funding from average daily attendance, the projections seemed “overly dependent” on parents in neighboring counties abandoning their independent study programs, said Maren Rocca-Hunt, director of elementary education.
Rocca-Hunt and other district officials were in charge of reviewing the petition and giving a recommendation to the board to approve or deny the request.
Rocca-Hunt told the board the petition also lacked a comprehensive description of the charter school’s educational program, specifically as to how it would meet the needs of English learners.
Latino students represent the majority of Napa County’s student population at 51.9 percent, and English learners make up more than 20 percent of all local K-12 students, according to a Napa County Office of Education report titled “2012 Education Review.”
The home-based curriculum for the new school would have been primarily in English, and the proposed budget did not appear to include any bilingual support for non-
English-speaking parents, according to district officials.
Gracia, who works for another charter school not associated with Napa Valley Unified, submitted the petition in early October. Gracia had hoped to open Gateway Collaborative by August 2013, with 100 to 125 students enrolled in the first year.
Gracia did not return requests for comment Friday.