MUSD board could vote to move forward with chartering schools


The MUSD school board will consider applying for charter school sponsorships in five of its six elementary schools and one of its middle schools during its 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

In previous discussions, board members split on whether creating charter schools would benefit the district or if the cost of one failing is too high. Districts must reimburse the state if a charter school fails within its first 15 years.

A vote Wednesday night does not mean the district will turn the schools into charter schools. It means the district would apply to the state for permission to have the schools sponsor a charter school.

District staff is recommending the maximum number of schools be considered for sponsoring a charter school in the 2013-14 school year. They are: Butterfield, Maricopa, Saddleback, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa elementary schools, as well as Maricopa Wells Middle School.

During the May 22 meeting, Superintendent Steve Chestnut said creating charter schools in Maricopa would give parents greater choice in where to send their children and could attract more parental involvement. Feedback from other charter schools has been positive, and magnet programs will provide incentive for accredited and highly qualified teachers to migrate to Maricopa, he said.

On Tuesday he said, “The main reason I am recommending the change is because I believe that writing the charter document at each school will result in an improved academic focus that will improve the academic achievement of students. I believe the process will result in excellent discussions between principals, parents and staff and once completed, the charter document will assist with the continuous improvement of each school.”

However, Board President Torri Anderson said during the May 22 meeting she was concerned the district would have to repay any funds appropriated for the charter school if it failed.

Additionally, the state Legislature currently is considering a moratorium on school district charters retroactive to April 30, 2013.

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The board meets in the District Office Administration Building, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway

Prior to the meeting, a 5:15 p.m. reception in the lobby will be held for Deputy Superintendent Ember Conley who is leaving to be superintendent in the Park City  (Utah) School District.