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No room for kids at local charters

Have local charter schools seen an increase in enrollment as a result of the Medford strike?

— Daniel M., Medford

Daniel, even if parents wanted to enroll their kids in a local charter school, the children would most likely be put on a wait list.

Although affiliated with the Medford School District, Logos Public Charter School, Vibes Public Charter School and Madrone Trail Public Charter School are run by separate boards, as well as by teachers who are not district employees and, therefore, not subject to the disputed labor contract.

During the strike, the charter schools have continued to operate as usual with the exception of a few special services that were staffed by district employees.

Attracted to this stability amidst the strike, some parents have contacted the charter schools but were either put on waiting lists or told the school has met its capacity.

"I think they all are capped right now and had waiting lists even before the strike," Superintendent Phil Long said.

Madrone Trail Director Joseph Frodsham said 224 students are enrolled in his school, which is only a couple dozen students shy of its self-imposed cap. He said his school has received fewer than a dozen calls from inquiring parents since the strike began Feb. 6.

"We are not interested in people coming here because of the strike," he said. "We are a Waldorf school. We use Waldorf methods and curriculum. And we want people to come here because they want Waldorf instruction and not because they are fleeing some other school."

Tom Cole, director of Vibes, said the school only had availability for one third-grade student this month. A spot which has since been filled.

"We are at 150 kids which is our cap," Cole said, adding that certain grades have been at capacity for months.