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R-P seeks to be authorizer of Dakota School

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Jun 4th, 2012
Posted in All Education

The school board has granted Superintendent Chuck Ehler permission to explore the possibility of being the authorizer for the Dakota Charter Community Schools, a move that could yield several benefits to the R-P district. One of the most obvious is the potential increase to future enrollment in the district. The Dakota Area Community School is a K-5 facility that typically serves less than 50 students; students who will at some point seek a middle and high school education within the area. R-P hopes that education comes within their doors. In addition to possible enrollment increases, the district would also see a slight monetary reimbursement from its role as authorizer.

According to the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, “One of the basic components of public charter schools is that they are granted a ‘charter’ by an approved entity known as an ‘authorizer.’” It is the role of the authorizer to monitor and evaluate the goals and performance of the school. At the end of the written charter contract between the two, the authorizer has the ability to either renew the charter of end the contract if the school is not performing well academically or even financially or through operations.

The majority of authorizers in Minnesota are either local education agencies (LEA), such as the R-P district, higher education institutions, or non-profit organizations. Per the Minnesota Department of Education, there are 28 approved authorizers within the state. The overwhelming majority will serve just one or two schools. In southeastern Minnesota, only Rushford-Peterson Public Schools, Rochester Community Technical College, and Winona Area Public Schools are approved as authorizers.

The district had previously sought to be the authorizer of Ridgeway Community School back in 2010, but the effort was denied.

In other news, the board will meet and conduct a working session with planning and architectural firm ATS&R June 2, at 6:00pm, in the high school biology room. The firm is assisting the district with the predesign phase of its New School Initiative.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Monday, June 18, 2012, at 5:30pm in the high school biology room. The public is encouraged to attend.

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