Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, June 26

In schools, newest doesn't mean better

Public schools in the tri-city area are facing a bit of a problem.

It's growth. We have more and more people moving to Chino Valley, Prescott Valley and Prescott (and the surrounding areas) – and those families have to send their children to school.

However, it's not always a public school that gets the enrollment. Witness:

• The Prescott Unified School District's (PUSD) 100-day count is down 47 students this year compared with thetally from 2000-01;

• The Chino Valley School District (CVSD) saw 15 more students this year; and,

• The Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD) dropped 39 students, compared with last year's enrollment statistics.

Each student is worth different amounts of money to each district, depending on the state's weighted formula. PUSD will lose about $157,000, according to Superintendent Kevin Kapp, or about $3,350 per child.

Meanwhile, the number of charter schools in the tri-city area continues to increase.

Officials at the county Superintendent of Schools office did not immediately return a call for statistics on how many new charter schools are operating in the tri-city area; however, accord-ing to the state (www.ade.state. az.us), the tri-city area now sports 20 charter schools.

Of those, eight are in Prescott Valley, Humboldt and Mayer; nine have Prescott addresses; and, three are in Chino Valley and Paulden.

That is significant because just three years ago, the tri-city area had only about half that many.

HUSD's loss is a result of two new charter schools in the Prescott Valley area, Superintendent Cynthia Verdugo Woodsaid this past week.

Another surprising development is that as many as six of the charter schools in the tri-city area are high schools. Add to that the three established public high schools, and a fourth on the horizon for Prescott Valley (HUSD), and you have 10 secondary schools to choose from.

The problem is that charters are public schools too. The state just gives them a different title and different options for curriculum and such.

As a parent of a former charter school student (she now attends PUSD's Granite Mountain Middle School), I can attest that not all charters are equal. Rather, the results you get are not always what you want.

Just remember that one should always factor in as part of the decision-making process the old tried and true.

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PARTING SHOT – New does not always mean better.

Contact Tim Wiederaenders at twieds@prescottaz.com

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