Expelled kids equal big bucks

Attention, expelled students: The Chico Unified School District wants you back.

For years, Bernie Vigallon, director of alternative education for the CUSD, has wanted to start a “community day school” that would educate students who have been expelled from traditional campuses.

“The stumbling block has been facility,” he told the CUSD Board of Trustees at its May 18 meeting. But, with Fair View High School moving to the soon-to-be-closed Jay Partridge Elementary School campus, it looks like there will be a site that meets government requirements.

There’s also some dollars involved. “I believe we can capture a lot of ADA,” Vigallon said. ADA is average daily attendance money the state reimburses local districts to the tune of about $4,600 a year per student. Those who have been expelled command an even higher per-pupil reimbursement rate.

But Vigallon said it isn’t all about money, alluding to an ethical responsibility for the CUSD to offer an education to all types of Chico students. “[We should] not have these kids leave the school district.”

In January, trustees named a community day school one of their top priorities.

“It’s a nondebatable need,” Superintendent Scott Brown said.

The issue will come up again at the board’s June 15 meeting.