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Reynolds to hear charter proposal by Dunton

Former Corbett superintendent and charter director will speak to board

A public hearing on a proposed charter school in the Reynolds School District is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at Fairview City Hall’s chambers.

Bob Dunton, the former director of Corbett Charter School and former superintendent of the Corbett School District, will give a presentation on The Egan School, Rockwood.

The proposed Rockwood lease agreement hinges on charter approval from the Reynolds Schools District, where the property lies.

On Wednesday, the public will have an opportunity to comment during the charter hearing. Documents on proposed charter may be found at www.reynolds.k12.or.us/district/school-board.

On Oct. 8, the board is expected to vote on the proposal at its board meeting.

According to a letter sent by Reynolds Superintendent Linda Florence to the city of Gresham Aug. 25, if the board does not approve the charter proposal, the process is complete as of that date.

If it does approve the charter, the board will have to attempt to reach a mutually agreeable charter contract.

“Until that process is complete,” Florence wrote, “the charter is not a legally recognized entity.”

In a petition supporting the charter, The Egan School, Rockwood is proposed as a 50,000-square-foot school facility at Southeast Stark Street at 192nd Avenue. The charter would be a K-8 Imaginative Education school funded by private means.

The Wilkes East Neighborhood website includes information about the proposed charter, stating its project developer is the Rockwood Community Development Corporation.

According to the website, the charter would consolidate 11 properties into one large parcel of land, with development occurring in three phases. Documents submitted to the city of Gresham state the project is valued at nearly $7.4 million.

To be clear, though, nothing is set in stone.

Dunton is asking Reynolds to approve his proposed charter after cutting ties with the Corbett School District.

Last school year, the Corbett School Board voted 5-2 to pull the plug on Corbett Charter School’s lease agreement, noting a strong friction between Dunton and other Corbett School District personnel.

Yet the non-renewal left many Corbett Charter families and teachers scrambling last spring. Many were hopeful the Rockwood charter would go through for fall 2015, the proposed opening date of the school, so they could stick with the charter model under Dunton’s leadership.

Supporters of the proposed charter are touting The Egan School as a “life-changing alternative to families who reside near the new facility” and saying it has “the potential to draw new students into Reynolds or bring back students who have transferred out of district.”

They are also stating the proposed charter aligns with renewal efforts for West Gresham.

Dunton and Florence communicated throughout the spring and summer in letters, which are available on the Reynolds School District website under school board documents.

The Reynolds School Board rejected a Corbett charter request in 2009.

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