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Eagle Point district approves charter school

Eagle Point School District hopes to expand its services to kids and recover local students enrolled in charter schools around the state by opening its own charter school this fall.

The school board unanimously approved a proposal for Crater Lake Charter Academy at a special board meeting Wednesday evening and appointed James Mannenbach, a local physical therapist and 2001 Eagle Point High School graduate, as chairman of the new school's board.

"I think that whatever our district can do to make education more readily available is a good thing," said Board Chairwoman Mary Ann Olsen.

The district has agreed to sponsor the school, which will have its own board and budget, and will begin work immediately on a contract or charter, said Human Resources Director Allen Barber.

The proposal, submitted by Mannenbach, was backed by a steering committee made up of district administrators and teachers from the D9 Online program.

In the last decade, the district has lost more than 400 students and the corresponding state funding to other charter schools. However, after launching its online program last September, the district regained about 70 of these students.

"We have a large number of students attending charter schools in the area, and we are anxious to have an appropriate solution for those students in Eagle Point," Barber said.

"We want those students back," he added.

According to the proposal, CLCA would host about 200 full-time K-12 students and employ one administrator, two certified teachers and one administrative assistant.

School staff would work with students to create personalized education plans. Students will have the option to take classes online, on campus or through a local partner, such as Rogue Community College.

Barber said students also would be required to meet with their instructor on a weekly basis.

A variety of online and offline curriculum, as well as CDs, videos and hands-on materials, would be available to K-5 students, while secondary students would be able to choose from more than 140 online classes, including advanced placement classes, foreign languages and electives.

Bryan Wood, who is a member of the steering committee, the district's athletic director and the administrator in charge of the district's D9 Online program, said the charter school would provide students with more "autonomy" and the ability to customize their education to meet their individual needs.

While the D9 Online program is an option available only to students enrolled in a district school, the charter school would be open to all Oregon students, he said.

"It's a free public charter school, or at least that's what's been proposed," he said.

The location for the school has not been determined, but the steering committee has its eye on several facilities in Eagle Point, White City and Shady Cove, Barber said.

"The proposal is nothing more than a starting point for the contract," he said.

CLCA's board will present the final contract to the district's board in August, Barber said. If approved, the school would open Sept. 3.

District officials anticipate projected revenue of $1.4 million for the new school.

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.