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Corbett board must revisit lease agreement for charter school

The Corbett School Board — on a 5-2 vote — made a decision that leaves 480 students homeless come the start of the next school year. Making that news even more disheartening is realization that the decision was unnecessary.

Here’s the background. On Jan. 22, the Corbett School Board renewed the Corbett Charter School. Then, on Feb. 11, the same board voted against renewing the lease for the charter school for the coming school year. That decision means the charter school has been handed an eviction notice from school district property in Corbett.

Meanwhile, charter school Director Bob Dunton has plans to relocate the school to a new site in West Gresham, but that move won’t come together until fall 2015. In a nutshell, that means the charter school’s students and their 18 teachers have nowhere to go come next fall.

The Corbett School Board has told parents it would welcome those students into the district’s traditional classrooms, but that’s little consolation for parents who intentionally chose a charter environment for their children, or for those families that live outside the Corbett School District boundaries.

Now, those parents who don’t want their children in traditional public schools must begin the frantic search for an alternative. That search may prove difficult as they bump up against enrollment caps at other charter schools or can’t find schools that offer the same academic ambition or school atmosphere.

The single most frustrating point is this: The Corbett School Board simply could have extended the lease of the charter school through the 2014-15 academic year.

That would have given the charter school the time it needs to complete its relocation to West Gresham. And it would have maintained the continuity of education for the students of the charter school. Essentially, the board will unnecessarily — but intentionally — cause upheaval for students and their parents.

We understand that there is tension between the Corbett School Board and Dunton, and there is no doubt that Dunton has contributed to that friction. Still, the fact that adults in the district are finding it difficult to get along is poor justification for interfering with student success.

We applaud School Board members Annette Calcagno and Victoria Purvine who saw this coming and wisely voted to extend the lease agreement.

Now, the Corbett School Board as a whole should come together to do what’s right for students by revisiting this issue at its next meeting. Nothing short of extending the lease for one more year will be acceptable.




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  • 29 Dec 2014

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