Vail aims to change more of its schools into charters

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Vail Unified School District continues to do what more districts are either considering or doing: join the charter movement.  The reason is simple: a charter student brings more state funding to a school district than a traditional student.

Vail already has four charter schools with Civano Community School K-8; Mesquite Elementary School; Acacia Elementary School; and Vail Academy and High School.

Tuesday night the board unanimously approved a resolution to sponsor Old Vail Middle School, Rincon Vista Middle School, and Desert Willow Elementary School as charter schools.  The district will lose almost $800,000 next year in state "growth funds" because it won't have those students as traditional students; however, it will gain $1.7 million in the following years by having those students as charter students.

But the district cannot force its students to go to its charter schools.  That forces those schools to perform and attract students.

"The school has to be high quality or else we are in very deep trouble.  So there's a risk that comes with the benefit of the additional funding," said superintendent Calvin Baker.

"For the quality of the education in the schools in Vail, I think it increases it because the charters have a little bit more choice on what activities and options they provide," said board president Claudia Anderson.

The three schools will present their charters to the board in two weeks for approval.

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