School board closes online school; considers opening charter


The Maricopa Unified School District governing board voted Wednesday to close Maricopa Online for the 2013-2014 school year.

Students will be allowed to take online classes but will be enrolled officially at Maricopa High School.

“This will save us money and allow us to move forward in finding a new provider for potential online schools,” said MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut.

Among other items discussed at the public meeting was the possible creation of a charter school in the district.

Chestnut said pros to creating charter schools within the district include offering parents a choice, attracting more parental involvement and the offering employees the same contracts currently held under traditional schools.

Board President Torri Anderson said she was concerned that if the charter school fails in the next 15 years, the school district would have to repay all funds appropriated for the charter school.

However, board member Scott Bartle said opening a charter school is “a risk-reward system.”

“We must be sure to get all of the information so we can make a well-informed vote.”

***ADVERTISEMENT***Chestnut, who said he will come back to the board at the next meeting with more information on districts chartering schools, added, “This opportunity may end soon and it’s something we really should look into and act fast on so we don’t lose this window of funding.”

Also Wednesday, the school board recognized the outstanding achievements of the Academic League, a districtwide competition in which groups of students answer questions regarding spelling, math and science and social studies in a quiz-show format.

“This is one of my favorite times to be on the school board,” said school board member Patti Coutre. “We get to celebrate our kids’ academic achievement.”