Parents urge charter school renewals

'We are coming together in good faith. Our issues will be resolved'

The parents of children at Medford's two charter schools sounded off to the Medford School Board Monday in public hearings concerning each of the school's upcoming charter renewals.

Both the Waldorf-inspired Madrone Trail Charter School and Logos Public Charter School for homeschool students have applied for renewals with the Medford School District, which sponsor each.

Every parent from each of the schools urged the board to renew contracts for their respective schools Monday night.

Despite recent parent complaints to the Medford School Board about the Madrone Trail board, parents Monday said that they still wished for the school's charter to be renewed for five years.

"We are coming together in good faith. Our issues will be resolved. Not a single parent questions the education their child is receiving. It's all a matter of semantics," said Linda Ford, a Medford parent.

Last March, parents drafted a petition to change the bylaws of the Madrone Trail board, fearing that several changes in board members had led the board to drift from its original mission to support a Waldforf-inspired school.

Months later, with the bylaws still unchanged, the parents went to the Medford School Board asking for help to change the bylaws, hoping to add a clearly written requirement that Waldorf-trained individuals be on the board.

In January, Madrone Trail parent Lorraine McDonald, who had helped organize complaints about the board's bylaws, agreed to take a vacancy on the Madrone Trail board.

McDonald said that while she supported the Medford School District continuing its charter with Madrone Trail, she hoped it would include a caveat to the renewed charter that requires the board to update its bylaws.

Board Chairman Doug Breidenthal, who received the brunt of many parent complaints about the board bylaws over the last year, also asked for the district to renew the charter.

Breidenthal said that if the charter wasn't renewed, many of the students who attend Madrone Trail wouldn't necessarily return to other schools in the district.

Parents from Logos Public Charter School also expressed support for renewal of their school's charter with the district, detailing the benefits of sending their children to Logos.

"My daughter went to public school, and it just didn't work for her," said Brooke MacElrath, a Logos parent. "Logos offers options for families that are different."

MacElrath said that her family has received more educational support at Logos than they would in a public school, even though a teacher only meets with them weekly.

Opened in the fall of 2010, Logos enrolls more than 700 students who are primarily homeschooled but able to meet with teachers regularly and attend some courses at the school's Medford campus. The school is up for a three-year charter renewal.

The district now has nine days to declare whether it intends to move forward with renewals for each charter.

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or

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