Thursday Jul 10 2008
McClintock to speak on behalf of proposed charter school
By: Michael Althouse, The Placer Herald
Will get three minutes at RUSD meeting as member of public
State Senator Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, will speak at the Rocklin Unified School District Board meeting on behalf of the proponents for the proposed Western Sierra Collegiate Academy charter school. The RUSD will hold a public hearing for the resubmission of the charter petition for the proposed WSCA at its regularly scheduled meeting next Wednesday. The WSCA is a proposed college preparatory charter school for grades 7-12. The RUSD board unanimously rejected the original petition last January because it failed to adequately address eight of 16 criteria set by state law, said Superintendent Kevin Brown. Among the concerns cited by Brown were a financial plan that was not solvent and would not insure financial stability. Brown also said the petition did not show that the school would meet the needs of all students, especially special needs students, that they failed to submit a curriculum that they would use to meet state standards and that the proponents failed to identify a facility. At the public hearing, the board will be presented with the new petition and hear public comments. After the public hearing, the board will have 30 days to consider the petition before rendering a decision next month. “They have to come up with a valid program that meets the needs of all students,” Brown said, adding, “We already have three charters operating in Rocklin, so we’re not anti-charter by any means.” Although he was not aware McClintock had an interest in the matter, Brown said he would be extended the same time allotted to any other member of the public wishing to address the board – three minutes. RUSD Board President Steve Paul was also surprised that McClintock would be attending the meeting. “We’ll be happy to hear from him as we are happy to hear from everyone who chooses to speak with us on any issue,” Paul said. McClintock, the presumptive Republican nominee for the California’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Rocklin, is also a former RUSD parent. “Our daughter attended Cobblestone in 1995 and 1996,” he said. “I am a strong supporter of charter schools,” McClintock said, adding that it is his honor to speak for WSCA. “Competition breeds excellence in any enterprise,” he said, citing the performance of the Rocklin Academy as an example. Dave Patterson, executive director of the Rocklin Academy charter school and a principal proponent of WSCA said he believed the original petition was in compliance with state regulations. “There were a series of things that they thought we needed to address that we thought exceeded the requirement of the law,” Patterson said. “However, in a good faith effort, we went ahead and addressed them anyway.” “We are open to any win-win opportunities to expand existing facilities or create new ones to accommodate our students, but the first step is to get the charter approved,” he said.