CANNON BEACH — In March, the Seaside School District withdrew its conditional approval for Cannon Beach Academy to open this fall. After a now-canceled appeal to the state, the charter school’s board members are preparing for next fall by working with the district and maintaining local support.
“We want to work with the Seaside School District,” board president Kellye Dewey said at a board meeting last week.
Board members, aiming for a September 2017 opening, hope the district will approve the academy’s charter application at the upcoming district board meeting in August.
The district denied the academy based on certain conditions, interim Executive Director Ryan Hull said, but did not accept or deny the academy’s charter application.
“I would love to have a denial with reasons to move forward,” Hull said. “We are still in limbo.”
If the district denies the academy’s application, Hull said, the academy would examine the reasons and could resubmit their application to the district or state.
After the district’s March withdrawal of conditional approval, Cannon Beach Academy submitted an appeal to the state and then rescinded it after the Oregon Department of Education asked the two parties to negotiate, board members said.
Seaside School District and Cannon Beach Academy representatives met in June and discussed budgets, students per class, out-of-district students and grants.
The academy “applied for a large federal grant and scored very well” but was denied the grant, since schools with an approved charter application are considered first, the academy stated in a public update.
The district offered to write a letter of support the academy could use in grant applications.
“A letter would give us a better opportunity to get the grants,” Hull said.
In 2014, the district denied the academy’s proposals. Last year, some district teachers spoke in opposition to the academy, concerned about funding for other district schools.
The district approved the academy, with conditions, in October. Under the conditions, the school would serve at least 44 kindergarten and first-grade students its first year. More grades could be added over time.
In March, the district revoked conditional approval, stating that the academy fell short on funding, enrollment and a state-approved English Language Learning program. The district refused an extension of the March deadline or to modify or eliminate the conditions.
The academy responded that the district “erected artificial barriers” to the charter school.
One condition required the school have all funds needed for the 2016-17 school year in the bank and a 10-percent contingency, amounting to a little more than $450,000. The district stated that the academy had $145,798.
The district did not account for the funding it would provide, Hull said Monday, and it is “not precedent” to have Oregon charter schools come up with the entire first year’s budget.
The academy plans to update its English Language Learning program to meet new state requirements.
Cannon Beach Academy was formed in 2013, once community members learned the district would close Cannon Beach Elementary that year for financial reasons.
“When we signed on, we didn’t think we would still be sitting here,” board member Barb Knop said.