Friday, August 10, 2012

Box Elder County's first charter school hopes to complement, not compete

The nearly 450 students who will be the first to walk through the doors of the Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning this fall will experience a "cutting edge" education that started with parents discussing educational options and ended with the formation of Box Elder County's first charter school.

There is a growing body of evidence that supports the success of the expeditionary learning model. According to information from Expeditionary Learning, the organizing body of the educational model, several studies show that students who attend expeditionary learning schools outperform their peers in traditional school in English/language arts and math; have greater problem-solving, critical thinking and research skills; and are better prepared to be successful in college and the work place. Currently, about 165 schools in 30 states use the expeditionary educational model.

Under the charter school system, which the Utah State Legislature passed into law in 1998, the money from the weighted pupil unit (WPU) for each student goes to the school that student is attending. With the WPU at $2,842, Box Elder School District lost $1,122,590.

Box Elder School District Superintendent Ron Wolff said, in a case of good news/bad news, the district was able to reduce expenses to cover the loss, but it came as a result of staffing cuts forced by enrollment changes due to PSEL. Box Elder School District had to cut 11 positions due to decreased enrollment in traditional schools. Box Elder News Journal