Nea Charter school applies again

As reported by the Alameda Journal (the host publication of this blog, where you can find all the stories from the print paper), the folks organizing Nea, a K-12 charter school, have submitted a new charter school application to the Alameda Unified School District.

Back in January 2008, the first Nea application was turned down by the District for lack of detail, and then turned down by the County Board of Education in April. While many people in the education field I respect have, over the years, made clear some of the problems with charter schools—primarily that they deplete already-scarce district resources—I understand, too, why they appeal to parents, especially those with children who, for whatever reason, are not thriving in the regular school system. My understanding is that Berkeley Unified has done a good job not losing money and students to charters by having programs that attract parents and children who are looking for options, including bilingual classes, an arts magnet, and a school-based garden and cooking program. The Alameda board will hear the proposal (thanks for the link, Mike McMahon) at their October 28 meeting.


  • http://www.mikemcmahon.info Mike McMahon

    Berkeley Unified School District replaced two special taxes expiring in 2007 with one annual special tax for 10 years at 22.80 cents/square foot for residential buildings, 34.36 cents/square foot for commercial/industrial/institutional buildings in 2006. So if Alameda residents were to pass a parcel tax at that level, I would imagine AUSD could provide unique and innovative programs to attract and retain students.

  • Susan Davis

    My fear is that with the estimated $800,000 – $1.5 million hit that the district will take if NEA opens, our kids will see even fewer cool programs (like school gardens and art), not more.

    I.e., yes, 125 lucky students will get an enriched, progressive education via NEA. But the remaining 9900 are likely to lose still more programs and services, which may very well drive more families out of the district.

    I actually find the NEA model very attractive. I just have a hard time stomaching what it means for the majority of children in this district.

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    I share your concerns about NEA (even though I too think it can be an attractive model for some kids), but the number of 125 is considerably lower than NEA’s estimates. NEA’s application projects an enrollment of about 300 in year 1, going up to about 400 in year 3. According to Ed-Data, the total ADA revenue in 2006-2007 was $8871. So in year 1, if NEA’s enrollment estimates are correct, the district’s revenue loss would be over $2.6 million going up to over $3.5 million in year 3. Of course, some expenses would be saved after teacher layoffs, likely school closure(s) and other expense reductions, but the effect would be devastating nonetheless on the students who are not fortunate enough to attend NEA.