Westlake Middle School Charter Bid Hits Snag

The petition for the Westlake Middle School charter will not be decided at the Natomas school board meeting tonight.

Sources tell THE NATOMAS BUZZ the the item will be pulled from the agenda while the Natomas Unified School District and Westlake officials hammer out charter details. Superintendent Bobbie Plough had recommended the school board deny the petition at tonight’s meeting after it was reviewed by legal counsel and found to fall short in the areas of implementation and site descriptions as prescribed by law.

Westlake Charter School principal Robert Capp over the weekend issued a press release opposing Plough’s recommendation, which is posted on the Westlake Charter School website, and said the petition would be submitted to the Sacramento County Office of Education if not approved by the Natomas school board. Plough had said the county would likely also identify the same issues.

Plough and Capp are said to be in talks and are expected to issue a joint press release about the Westlake Middle School charter petition sometime today. The charter petition could be back before the Natomas school board as soon as January and, if approved, start for the 2011-12 school year.

The charter plans to serve 84 sixth grade students in the first year, 168 sixth and seventh grade students the second year and 252 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students the third year.

Tonight’s school board meeting starts 6:30 p.m. at the district board room, 1901 Arena Boulevard.
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  1. Doing quick math on the number…250 X 5000 = 1.25 million more dollars lost from Natomas USD. And we wonder why we are the footsteps of state takeover. Further, we continue to alienate our community!

  2. Are you calculating ADA? I thought the school got a portion of it and the district got the rest.

  3. The district gets 3% of it, the school gets 97% of it. Of course, if the district decides not to approve the charter, the County or State will, and NUSD will get none of it. NUSD is just playing tough for political gain.

    Westlake wouldn’t need a charter if the school district had done what it was supposed to do and provided the Westlake Community an elementary school. They broke their promise, and parents in the area were left to start a school of their own.

    Westlake has the highest API score in the district, so allowing more students to be a part of that success is best for the area and the kids. Yes, that will “take” more kids from NUSD schools, but this is America, and if the public schools aren’t competing with charter schools in the area, the charter schools should reap the benefits.

  4. Oh please, with your highest score in the district! Of course you do because you have motivated parents with motivated kids. Do you realize you have over a 100 point API gap between African American scores and White scores? It doesn’t mean Westlake Charter is the best school in the district. Plus public schools have to take ALL students whereas Westlake can pick and choose. This is the kind of attitute GreenJay that causes a split in the community of Natomas. Charter Schools have been proven to be no better than public schools. Read the research!

  5. Read this thread to dispell that charter school are superior to public schools.


  6. Westlake doesn’t want to drive to the other side of I-5, but lots of people from this side drive over to the Charter school. It isn’t about locality. And it does continue to take money away from the pot. It seems odd that the “public” schools are the only ones that are being hurt by this financial district crisis, while the charter schools keep reaping the benefits and continue to expand. We should all be in the same boat.


  7. Breanne,
    Your points are the same spewed by everyone who doesn’t understand truly how a charter school works. First off, WCS has a lottery every spring where hundreds of parents bring their kids to try and get in. The only preferences given are to founding parents of the school, which is minuscule, and Title I kids. There is no picking and choosing, as it would be against the law.

    Thanks you for also making the argument for me, that yes, motivated teachers and parents can make a difference in the life of a student. If charter schools can have basic expectations, that already puts them one up.

    WCS doesn’t take money away from the pot, because they are servicing district kids. How can a school that offers Spanish, speciality classes, international focus, and have 20 kids per classroom in grades K-3 be considered bad?

  8. @Trixie – Westlake has nothing to do with location. It’s a temporary spot and we will likely be moving next year anyway. Westlake was not formed due to location- it was disgust with the district board from about a decade ago.

    I don’t care what the studies show, I can’t imagine an education so solid – public or private – that our kids have had at Westlake. Not every Charter is the same. Obviously some have failed miserably.

    As GreenJay said, there is no preferences beyond the ones stated. I don’t know why people continue to believe that westlake can pick and choose its students. Maybe that appearance will fade away as the founding parents students graduate and there is no more founding parents with Kinder aged students.

    Unfortunately, Westlake Charter has become a symbol of all that is wrong with our public education system. I see a huge success for the students, but no one outside the school seems to want to see a school that succeeds academically. I applaud my community for seeing the road the district was heading down, and fighting for our kids’ rights to a solid public education.

  9. Many misunderstandings are flying around here about Charter schools.

    First of all, most Westlake Charter students do not live in Westlake. They come from all over Natomas. It is called Westlake Charter because of its location, not because it is for Westlake residents.

    Why are the charter schools in Natomas not hurting in the same way that the district is? It has to do with local control over the budget. Each charter in our area has control of their own budget and therefore, determines how to spend the discretionary portion of their budget. The state and federal laws mandate a large percentage of budgeting for schools. The rest is up to the charter or the district, depending on your situation.

    So a charter school has the ability to choose a less expensive curriculum, use parent volunteers for jobs that district schools are not allowed, negotiate cheaper contracts with vendors and manage money on a local, day to day level etc. This freedom and in turn, wise spending, is why the charters in our area are not in the same financial situation that the rest of NUSD is facing.

    It is true, numerous studies show that AS A WHOLE charter schools do not perform significantly better than public schools. Those studies are not reflective of schools in our immediate area. Like all data, it paints a broad brush and does not speak to specifics.

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