By Ashleigh Costello
ANDERSON, Ind. – Premier High School, operated by the Texas-based charter company Responsive Education Solutions, is hoping to be approved by the Indiana Charter School Board for operation next year, despite opposition from the local school district.
If approved, the charter school would focus on dropout recovery and prevention.
Unlike most traditional one-size-fits-all public schools, Premier High School uses diagnostic testing in order to implement individualized learning plans for each student, with tutors available for extra one-on-one assistance.
Sensing competition for state dollars tied to each student, the local school board voiced its opposition to the charter school at a public meeting Wednesday night.
Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Felix Chow told The Herald Bulletin that he’s opposed to the charter “because it would duplicate services already available through ACS and its partner, the Excel Center, along with taking more dollars from the state, stretching money even thinner.”
“We already have many choices and variety and cover a whole range of student populations that need high school education,” said Chow.
If that is in fact true, what is the school district so worried about? Students who are getting the services they need will probably stay in the district and ignore the charter school, right? But the way we see it, there’s no reason to limit their options.
Chris Baumann, general counsel for Responsive Education Solutions, said the plan is to work toward a partnership with the Anderson district, which is currently working to overcome budget deficits and an increase in the Title I population.
“Premier would appeal to younger dropouts and more at-risk students rather than adults who are seeking a degree,” Baumann told the news site.
“No matter how good, competent, passionate a school district is, some slip through the cracks,” he said.
As for the charge of draining the district’s financial resources, Baumann contends the charter could actually increase funds to ACS through means such as renting a building.
The Indiana Charter School Board is taking public comments to help decide the fate of the charter school via email until Oct. 4 at midnight. The board will vote on the matter at its meeting on Oct. 15.