School board to discuss charter school

A proposed charter school would allow high school juniors and seniors to work toward an associate's degree while earning their high school diplomas.

"We think it's an incredible opportunity for students," said founder Dave Cook, former member of Carson City and state boards of education. "We will provide a different kind of educational opportunity for students who desire it and who have the capability of benefiting from it."

The plan to develop the Western Nevada Academy where students would attend the last two years of high school at Western Nevada Community College, earning dual credits, has been submitted to the Nevada State Board of Education for review.

If the plan meets the state standards, it would then have to be approved by the Carson City and Douglas County school districts.

"We're just waiting to hear more about the proposal and see what type of opportunities this school could offer the community," said Carson City School Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. "We also have to wait and see what the state department does."

Carol Lucey, president of the college, opposes the proposal.

"While we certainly want to support every creative and well-founded idea, we can't support this particular plan," she said. "We have some concerns. It is very vague."

Cook will present the idea for the charter school at Tuesday's school board meeting for discussion among district officials, board members and the public.

"We believe we offer some real benefits for Carson and Douglas," Cook said. "Both high schools are congested and we would allow some relief."

Cook said classes would be offered at both Carson City and Douglas campuses but would be available to students throughout Western Nevada. He would hope for at least 200 students with a limitless enrollment.

However, Lucey said the college may not be able to handle a large influx at one time.

"Those are the kinds of issues any business person needs to ask about," she said. "It's not an adequate business plan."

High school seniors are already allowed to take some classes through the college, which Lucey sees as adequate.

"We're finding some really strong ways to provide high school students with some college opportunities," she said. "This proposal clouds all that."

Students who attend the school would be allowed to continue participating in extra-curricular at their high schools.

"We won't be forcing students to cut their connective cords to their high school," Cook said. "That allows them to still grow up kids."

The school will be funded through the $4,380 given to the schools for each pupil enrolled. The charter school would receive that money for the students attending that school.

Other members of the proposed school's governing board are David Noonan, Nancy Hall, Gary Pierson and Robinette Bacon. The chief administrative officer will be Jerry Barbee.

"It's a good thing for the community and a good thing for students who are mature and willing to be responsible," Barbee said.

What: Carson City School Board meeting

Where: Carson City Community Center, Sierra Room

When: 7 :p.m. Tuesday


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