Charter commission deems application for Twin Harbors school insufficient

The one charter school proposed to serve Grays Harbor and Pacific counties was not one of the six proposed statewide to receive a recommendation from the state’s charter school commission.

Analysis from the commission was released Monday. It looked at 19 applications from around the state and deemed the proposal for a military-style charter school in Aberdeen to only partially meet or not meet the required standards for selection.

The recommended schools — none of which plan to open until 2015 — would all be in Western Washington: one in Kent, one in the Highline District of South Seattle, two in Tacoma and two in Seattle. The commission’s Chairman Steve Sundquist said in a news release that the recommendations released do not necessarily reflect which applications will be approved when the board makes its final decision on Thursday, but it seems unlikely the board would veer from its own recommendations.

William and Catherine Lay, who spearheaded the Pioneer Youth Corps of Oregon that operates the Willamette Leadership Academy at Eugene, proposed the Evergreen State Military Academy to be modeled after their former academy and to be located on Grays Harbor.

The summary analysis by the commission found their application to only partially meet standards in terms of educational, financial and organizational design.

The commission also found the application did not meet standards at all in terms of demonstrating a track record of academic success serving a similar student population, or in inspiring confidence that their parent organization in Oregon has developed a thorough business plan for a new school. They also noted that the academy in Eugene has a history of low financial performance and non-renewal. Their notes say that while they do not debate the Lays’ claim that state, district or even “like school” comparisons are not relevant because the student population of the academy in Eugene is significantly different than any other school, that the Lays were not convincing enough in using data to tell their story of success and of their ability to succeed with their new school.

The new law allows a maximum of 40 charter schools to open in the next five years, with a maximum of eight charter schools to open each year and the commission does not have to choose a minimum. The Lays have previously told The Daily World that if they do not receive one of the spots, they will try again next year.

Sam Luvisi: 360-537-3935 or sluvisi@thedailyworld.com and @Dw_Sluvisi on Twitter.


Rules for posting comments