Weld RE-4 Board of Education approves American Legacy Academy charter school application | #Education

After six months of conversations and negotiations, the Weld RE-4 School District is a step closer to having a second charter school in its boundary area.

The board of education for the Windsor and Severance school system unanimously approved the American Legacy Academy charter school application to operate two K-8 schools within the district based on two conditions:

  • American Legacy leaders must identify adequate location and facilities for each campus; and
  • The school must identify a model for delivering or providing special education services.

The latter condition essentially boils down to if Weld RE-4 School District personnel supervises and oversees the special education staff, or if the work is handled by American Legacy Academy.

“At the end of the day, it’s who’s responsible?” Weld RE-4 director of exceptional student services Jon Paul Burden told the board Monday evening during its work session.

The Weld RE-4 board of education approved the application later in the evening during its regular meeting, accepting the recommendations of the District Accountability Committee. The work session and the regular meeting were held in the district administration building in Windsor.

The next step for American Legacy Academy and Weld RE-4 is to work on a charter contract. The contract must be settled within 90 days from Tuesday, and it will detail the terms of the operating agreement. Weld RE-4 also has an operating agreement with Windsor Charter Academy, the district’s initial charter school opened in 2001.

The application approval says American Legacy Academy has been granted a 4-year contract effective July 1, 2023.

Weld RE-4’s approval of the application also said that within 30 days from Tuesday, American Legacy Academy must provide a “rationale and replacement plan” for each school district policy to be waived. At this point, ALA and Weld RE-4 will negotiate the waivers to be approved by the school district’s board of education as part of the charter school contract.

The school district’s approval of the charter school application led to a smattering of applause from those in the board room. Attendees included American Legacy Academy representatives: Julie Babcock, president of the board of directors; Stan Everitt, a member of the ALA board of directors; and school advisor Craig Horton.

Babcock addressed the Weld RE-4 board a couple of times during the evening. She asked the school district to approve two schools on one application, saying the charter school “can do its part” to alleviate the overcrowding issues that have plagued Weld RE-4 schools for the last few years.

The growth is not anticipated to slow, but rather to continue which is one reason American Legacy Academy leaders have said they want to open charter schools in the district. The other reason is to provide school choice to parents and families.

Babcock also addressed the first condition on locations for the schools. Babcock said the American Legacy Academy leaders are working with property owners to identify sites for the schools.

In May, the Weld RE-4 board of education declined American Legacy Academy’s offer to buy 10 acres for $2.1 million in Windsor’s RainDance neighborhood as a site for one of the charter schools.

Initially, the resolution up for Weld RE-4’s approval Monday evening stipulated that one school would be in Windsor opening in fall 2023, and the second campus would be in Severance to open in fall 2024.

The language was modified to say only the two schools would be located within the Weld RE-4 School District boundaries.

“RainDance is out, Severance has water problems and we’re looking at other options (for school sites),” Babcock told the school board.

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