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Charter School, District Must Make Grade

By Carl McCutchen, Loveland Connection Staff Writer

The Thompson School District board of education approved the application for Loveland Classical Schools with more than just a little apprehension Wednesday night.

It was the proposed charter school’s second try before the school board after an appeal with the Colorado Department of Education sent it back for district consideration.

District officials indicated the proposal was much improved from the original rejected one, but board members, despite voting in favor of the school, weren’t shy about sharing their concerns.

Board member Len Sherman had this to say: “I don’t believe it is in the best interest of kids to further divide up the population we now have with declining enrollments, but I’m also a realist and I know this is going to happen because I understand the process. Regardless of what we do here tonight, it’s a done deal.”

Board member Karen Stockley said many of her concerns simply were philosophical differences, including the school’s abstinence-only curriculum.

But now that Loveland Classical Schools is moving ahead, there must be a balance between putting aside any ideological difference to provide educational alternatives still equip students to succeed beyond the school’s walls.

Fulfilling “minimal” requirements and falling within “acceptable” limits for standards should only be the starting point for the school. Board members’ comments Wednesday about working with the school to refine its plan indicate they aren’t going to settle for barely getting by.

As board member Lola Johnson put it: “we want charter schools to be successful because if you are successful, then our district looks successful, so we would not want you to fail.”

Maintaining balance will be a fine line to walk for both the school district and the charter school. But if both entities can do it, Loveland’s children will be the winners.