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Oregon education department won't support charter school

The Oregon Department of Education has recommended against the state sponsoring the Proficiency Academy of Tigard-Tualatin.

PATT, a proposed charter high school looking to form in the Tigard area was denied twice by the Tigard-Tualatin School District last year citing a lack of community support and other issues.

A second application with the district brought similar results.

The charter school then sought approval by the State Board of Education who held an informational meeting with PATT supports and the school district last week.

The state board will vote whether to accept the charter in May.

If the State Board of Education approves PATT, it would use a proficiency-based model, meaning that students would go at their own pace to learn the material, and students would be graded at how well they understand what they've been learning with little room for other factors like perfect attendance or extra credit assignments.

If approved, PATT would be the first charter high school in the Tigard area and serve 150 to 300 students.

In a report released by the department of education, PATT failed to meet the criteria to form a state-sponsored charter school in 14 areas.

The school failed to demonstrate sustainable community support, said Colleen Mileham, assistant superintendent of schools in a letter to State Supt. Susan Castillo. Mileham wrote that PATT was not financially stable or capable of providing comprehensive institutional programs and failed to make necessary arrangements for necessary special education students.

'Very little explanation is given as to how the community has been and will continue to be involved in the formation and governance of the school and no one involved in its formation resides within the district,' the state report reads. 'A limited number of signatures was provided to support the school and there was no evidence that a broad outreach has been made to the community at large.'

When it was first denied by the district, Michael Bremont, one of the applicants for the Proficiency Academy, said that because the school board is an elected representation of the community, approving the charter school would have demonstrated enough community support under the law.

The state report said that it was unable to determined if sustainable support for PATT existed.

PATT's application to the state also did not include a complete budget and was 'wholly incomplete for this stage of the process.'