Funding a ‘win-win’ deal

School district should approve charter school’s grant ASAP

The ongoing conflict between the Chico Unified School District and its largest charter school, Chico Country Day School, is the result of disagreements over several issues that the two organizations need to work out through negotiations. In the meantime, there’s another matter that could—and should—be settled quickly: the school’s access to millions of dollars for improving its facilities.

The funding—up to $8.4 million in grants and loans—is now available, but the district needs to approve an agreement with the state before it can be disbursed. CCDS officials asked the district to put the matter on the school board’s Oct. 28 agenda, but the district didn’t do so, citing incomplete paperwork. Board President Jann Reed, in a letter to the school, has promised to agendize the item as soon as the paperwork is received. CCDS Principal Paul Weber tells us it has been turned in.

That’s good, because construction should begin as soon as possible. The funding will not only pay to spiff up the oldest school site in town, it will also put a lot of people to work. And, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent signing of SB 592, the district no longer has to worry about being held responsible in the highly unlikely event that CCDS defaults on its loan payments.

As Weber has noted, it’s a “win-win” situation that won’t cost the district any money, will modernize the school for its more than 500 students, will enhance the Barber neighborhood, and will contribute greatly to Chico’s economic recovery.

The board’s next regular meeting isn’t until Nov. 19. We think this funding is of such value that it warrants scheduling a special meeting before then. We urge the board to do so.