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Front Page » June 23, 2005 » Local News » East Carbon explores charter option to alleviate impact o...
Published 3,387 days ago

East Carbon explores charter option to alleviate impact of school closure


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By CHARI JELSMA
Sun Advocate reporter

The East Carbon High School closure has left many residents of East Carbon City wondering how the situation will affect the community.

One idea to rectify the potential problems created by the closure is the concept of replacing East Carbon High with a charter school.

Joyce Caviness, a member of the East Carbon City Council, has been in charge of planning for the possible creation of the charter school.

Caviness has been keeping the mayor and council up to date with reports on her progress during the city's regularly scheduled public meetings.

With the help of the local community, the councilmember indicated that several advancements in the plans have been made.

Many residents of East Carbon will receive a survey attached to the city's regular newsletter in the upcoming weeks.

The survey, created by former Carbon County Sheriff Jim Robertson, was developed to determine the support the school will have among residents of the community.

How the residents react to the survey will effectively determine whether the school will be built.

How the residents of Sunnyside will receive copies of the survey has yet to be decided.

Robertson is also credited with the idea of forming an East Carbon High School Alumni Association. The group would be the first of it's kind in the county.

Both Caviness and Robertson are afraid that if the survey isn't taken seriously and support for the endeavor isn't seen, the plans for the school will not go much farther.

"We're going to need a little more enthusiasm or it's not going to go very far," said Councilmember Caviness during the June 14 East Carbon City Council meeting.

The school, if the proposal gains enough public support from the members of the community, is lanned to be for students in seventh to 12th grade.

The scope of the proposal will give local children and teenagers the chance to attend school in East Carbon from kindergarten through graduation since there is still an elementary school nearby.

"I just hated to see the school close," said Robertson who had two children graduate from East Carbon High School. "It just doesn't seem like it was a fair decision."

Caviness also explained during the May 31 meeting that if the school does gain enough support from the local community, especially those with children in grades seven through 12, it most likely will not need funding from the city due to several federal grants being available. Council Member Caviness mentioned the possible availability of Title 1 money among several other federal grants that could total around $350,000. This money would go to helping start the school.

Caviness was also allowed to use the city's name on the application for the charter school after asking the city council to do so at the May 31 city council meeting. She explained to the city council that if the charter school had city endorsement, the application would probably go through much easier.

The question of where the school would be located is another issue the city still has to decide upon. Caviness suggested that the donation of land by either Sunnyside or East Carbon might also be necessary during the meeting on May 31.

"If it requires land and we have some that is available, i would also entertain that," said East Carbon City Council member, Dave Maggio, in response to the possible city donation of land.

If the city has the community support necessary to go ahead with the charter school, it may take up to two years before it will be able to accommodate students. This still leaves East Carbon and Sunnyside youth traveling to Price for schooling during the next two years, but this fact cannot be avoided.


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