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MSD approves Logos expansion

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Travis Gregg plays the keyboard Thursday during a music class at Logos Public Charter School in Medford.
Charter school to increase enrollment by 250 students over next 4 years

The Medford School District has approved a new five-year contract with Logos Public Charter School that will allow for an enrollment increase of 250 students over the next four academic years.

The new 63-page contract passed the board with a quick and unanimous 7-0 vote April 22 and is expected to be adopted by the Logos School Board during its May 17 meeting. The contract is available to download as a file attached to the meeting agenda.

Logos Public Charter was seeking a 300-student increase by 2026. After negotiations, the district agreed to allow a 100-student increase to 1,160 students next school year, followed by a 50-student bump each of the following three school years to reach a maximum of 1,310 students in 2024-25. The school can then request another increase prior to the final year of the contract.

Logos Public Charter Executive Director Sheryl Zimmerer said the push to allow higher enrollment for the K-12 school was paramount. The school’s bulging wait list, which is as full as ever at 500-plus students, reflects how the pandemic has led to an increased interest in homeschooling.

“This has been our first meaningful contract growth in student enrollment since 2013,” Zimmerer said. “We’ve had hundreds of students on the wait list, but even more after the pandemic because many people decided they liked the flexibility of homeschooling with this challenging year. In so many ways this contract growth and the Medford School District believing in our school and allowing student growth was a bright light in a very difficult year.”

The enrollment increase will likely solidify Logos Public Charter School as the largest non-virtual charter school in the state. Before the board vote, Medford school board member Cynthia Wright credited the school for its success. Logos’ 95% graduation rate in 2020 ranked as the best in its history, and it moved into a gorgeous new $6.2 million, 25,000-square-foot building on 4.7 acres of donated land off Ross Lane less than two years ago.

The contract represents another milestone for Logos, which opened in 2010 with a cap of 300 students. That cap was expanded before that charter was up for renewal. The Medford School Board approved a 1,000-student cap in 2016.

“Hats off to Logos,” Wright said. “They’ve done really well, and I’m excited that more people get an opportunity to attend Logos, because they come up with some really great results and are offering a great educational option for people who want that, and I’m excited that more kids have that option.”

Zimmerer said the latest increase will help the school meet a demand that just keeps growing.

“We’ve had up to 500, 600 on our wait list for this school year,” she said. “Before that, it was still hundreds, but we could get through the wait list in a year and get most people in. This past year is the first year that we’ve had people that have been on the wait list the whole year and they never got into our school. So allowing this growth is a great thing for our school, it’s a great thing for Medford School District, it’s a great thing for all the students in the Rogue Valley who have been really pleading with us to let them into our school.”

Logos Public Charter pulls from all over Southern Oregon — 44% of its students hail from Medford, but the second-most common hometown flip-flops year to year between Grants Pass and Central Point (both about 17%).

That’s one of the reasons why Logos is looking to open up a building in Grants Pass soon.

“We have been working with RCC (Rogue Community College) in Grants Pass for many years,” Zimmerer said, “and had classes out in Grants Pass, but we are looking for something that is more permanent that we can do things other days of the week than we were allowed to with our RCC partnership.

“We are talking with a landlord and are in the final stages of hopefully renting a place in Grants Pass for the fall.”

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.