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Clinton disolves LIFT charter

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ANN MARIE AMES
May 20, 2008
— The Clinton School District will no longer have any charter schools.

The school board Monday night voted to dissolve the charter for the Language Instruction for Tomorrow (LIFT) school, which provides bilingual education for 4-year-old kindergarten through fourth grade at Clinton Elementary School, 301 East St.


The curriculum will continue and be considered a program rather than a charter, school board President Randy Gracyalny said.


The change will not affect children in the classroom or the way the program is funded, Gracyalny said.


“This is basically a name change for us,” he said.


The change is a response to increased federal restrictions on the governance of charter schools, Gracyalny said. The federal government was requiring charter governance boards to have control of the school’s funding, among other restrictions, Gracyalny said.


The Clinton district wasn’t comfortable with those changes, and thought it could provide the same education through programming rather than a charter, he said.


The LIFT governance board will become an advisory board, and the district will keep seeking parent input, Gracyalny said.


The charter began in 2003 with 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten. Plans were to expand the school into a new grade level each year up to fourth grade.


Children in 4K can expect to learn in Spanish for 10 percent of the school day. By the time they grow to fourth grade, the children are splitting the day evenly between English and Spanish.


The district dissolved the charter for the Partnership Organizations Work Environment and Relationships (POWER) Charter School before it became official, Gracyalny said.


The district made that decision for the same reason it dissolved the LIFT charter, Gracyalny said, and the POWER school will continue to function as a program rather than a charter school.


In its first year, the POWER school is serving 20 Clinton sixth-graders with a project-based curriculum—one that lets kids show their knowledge by teaching others rather than taking tests.



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