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New Nea application heard

Submitted by on 1, October 29, 2008 – 9:00 amNo Comment

The folks proposing the Nea Community Learning Center charter school presented their new-and-improved application to the school board on Tuesday night, offering a raft of changes to the application rejected by the school board and the Alameda County Board of Education earlier this year.

The proposed charter’s Maafi Gueye said that the school would now be completely independent of the district. And she said that other details, including concerns about whether the school’s students would be representative of the district as a whole and whether it could meet accepted accounting and auditing standards, are also addressed.

School board trustees questioned whether the school’s educational model, which is more self-directed than a traditional public school’s, would meet the learning needs of students in the district’s lower-performing schools.

“We have an achievement gap issue, and I would love to make sure this application, this school (deals with) that. You can’t check boxes, but I hope this is the goal, the mission of this school,” school board President Bill Schaff said.

The school, which is modeled on the 13-year-old Alameda Community Learning Center, would serve about 400 students in grades K-12. Its proponents hope to have it open in fall 2009.

Proponents said the school offers a choice for students who don’t fit a traditional learning model that is based on an already successful program. But opponents said they fear that could come at the expense of the rest of the cash-strapped district, which would lose money and, potentially, a home for programs quartered at the former Longfellow school (which we’re guessing is a proposed site for Nea).

The board is slated to make a decision on the charter application on November 25.

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