David Bardsley talks about his project, “The Art of Production,” during a past showcase night at Lumen High School.  					Tim Lyke photo
David Bardsley talks about his project, “The Art of Production,” during a past showcase night at Lumen High School. Tim Lyke photo

     Ripon’s four charter schools are neither fish nor fowl.

     They are semi-autonomous institutions who have their own governance councils yet are financially beholden to the Ripon Area School Board. ...

     As creatures of the Ripon Area School Board, the charters are dependent on elected board members for their very existence ... For this reason, board members’ informal decision — expressed at its Feb. 20 meeting — to align the charter schools’ contract expiration dates with each other is misguided.

     ... The board would like to have all the schools’ contracts expire when Quest’s contract comes due.

    ...Board President David Scott on Feb. 20 said the board will be able “to deal with [the four contracts] as a unit, rather than one there, one there, one there.” ...

     Should the board take on the heavy task of evaluating the schools en masse, it is far more likely to lose the trees through the forest. Rather than give all four schools a cursory review, the board should scrutinize each one’s progress toward achieving contracted goals, identifying unique challenges, recognizing successes, formulating new benchmarks and viewing the schools vis a vis their legacy counterparts (charter exceptionalism is less heroic if its legacy version is sub-standard).  

     For this reason, the board owes it to the schools to review each contract individually, during staggered years, so that it can provide the rigorous oversight each requires and deserves. ...
                                   — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the March 16, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.