July 16, 2008

Rocklin Trustees Reconsider Proposed College Prep Charter School

By Lakiesha McGhee, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.

Jul. 16--Trustees of the Rocklin Unified School District will consider a revised petition tonight to open a seventh- to 12-grade college preparatory charter school, which they denied early this year.

The proposed Western Sierra Collegiate Academy will be presented by Rocklin Academy, a kindergarten to sixth-grade public charter school operating within the district's boundaries.

In January, trustees unanimously denied Rocklin Academy's petition for another charter, citing failure to provide a sound fiscal budget and to meet eight of 16 elements required for establishing the school. David Patterson, Rocklin Academy's executive director, said his group of supporters were disappointed by the vote but not discouraged.

"We made a decision to do a good-faith effort to make (the petition) work at the local level before seeking an appeal," Patterson said today in a telephone interview.

The petition has been changed to address state budget issues and to provide an enhanced educational program that far exceeds state requirements, Patterson said. He added that if the petition is denied again by the Rocklin district, an appeal will be sought at the county and state level, if necessary.

Western Sierra Collegiate Academy is modeled after the Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, a nationally recognized public charter school that emphasizes international, cross-cultural, and technological education. Supporters of the proposed charter maintain that a such school would offer college preparatory courses for high-achieving students to learn at an advanced pace.

Opponents, however, have accused the charter school of being elitist and said it would only offer courses already available at the district's two high schools, Rocklin and Whitney.

The Rocklin school board will meet at 7 p.m. at the district office, 2615 Sierra Meadows Drive.


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