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School Board Approves Agreement with State for Santa Barbara High’s MAD Academy

The pact with the California Academy Foundation outlines funding commitments and new enrollment criteria

The Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday night approved the 18th draft of an agreement regarding Santa Barbara High School’s Multimedia Arts & Design Academy.

The agreement between the district and the California Academy Foundation outlines funding commitments and new enrollment criteria, as the MAD academy hopes to expand from 150 to 260 students and add new facilities with funding from the district, donations and grants.

This year, the academy is looking to raise $300,000, two-thirds of which comes from parents and the rest from state funding.

The 15-year-old academy focuses on Web design, animation, photography and video production and editing, which director Dan Williams said are basic skills to prepare students for the 21st century. The academy has a 100 percent graduation rate, and all of the students go to higher education or the military.

With the agreement, at least 50 percent of 10th-grade students entering the academy will be considered at-risk, meaning they have a history of irregular attendance, underachievement, scoring below basic or far below basic on standardized tests, or at or below a 2.2 grade point average.

The academy’s growth will help alleviate some of the waiting lists, but Williams said that until new facilities are finished — hopefully by next year — the popularity makes for some crowded classrooms.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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