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Orcutt Academy Charter to Begin First Renewal Process

The Orcutt Academy Charter program is about to embark on its first-ever charter renewal process.

A select group of parents, staff and students in the Orcutt Union School District is set to begin the months-long review of the district-dependent charter, which opened in 2008 and includes Orcutt Academy High School, a K-8 Casmalia campus and an independent study program.

Schools must renew a charter every five years, and Orcutt reaches its five-year mark for the process in 2013.

Joe Dana, director of charter programs, will notify the Board of Trustees of that fact at a meeting Wednesday night.

Dana said Monday that he expected the process to last about four months, with actual approval by the board in January or February.

“We need to review our charter and look at what we said we would do,” he said. “Did we do it?”

About 15 people elected to the School Advisory Council will review the program’s charter and assess whether the schools should retain a governing charter document.

Dana compared the process to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which provides accreditation to schools that meet an acceptable level of quality.

A renewal is similar to an initial petition granted a charter, except renewal criteria demonstrating school progress and success is included, according to the California Charter Schools Association.

Dana said the advisory council would decide whether to involve all parents and staff in the process.

“It gets representatives of stakeholders together for discussion,” Dana said.

Once the board of trustees approves a revised charter, the application goes on to the state Board of Education.

Dana said he expects the process to go smoothly, since the charter schools do have high student achievement, provide healthy school climates, etc.

“I don’t anticipate any roadblocks,” he said. “I think the school has been very successful.”

The Orcutt charter board meeting is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Wednesday in the district office, 500 Dyer St. in Orcutt.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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