Archive for Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Charter School at the forefront of online education

October 16, 2002

Two years ago, the Basehor-Linwood Virtual Charter School a school which students take classes via the Internet was one of just a handful in Kansas.

Today there are 15.

And the Basehor-Linwood VCS, perhaps the state's leading pioneer in charter schools, is suffering because of it, Basehor-Linwood officials said.

According to the most recent enrollment figures, the Basehor-Linwood VCS has an enrollment of 350, down from last year's 363.

The lower enrollment number is due to an increasing number of school districts implementing charter school programs, school officials said.

"It's now the new thing to do," Basehor-Linwood VCS director Brenda De Groot said. "Districts like Wichita, Shawnee Mission and De Soto are opening their eyes to that.

"It's going to get tougher and tougher every year."

The VCS was featured during the Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting Monday, Oct. 14.

The charter school is now in its fifth year of existence.

It was started in 1997 as a way of reaching students who were either home schooled or behind in classes.

Since then, the Basehor-Linwood VCS has become the model for other districts starting a virtual charter school; state officials suggested other districts use the Basehor-Linwood VCS operating procedures as a guide for founding their schools.

"Basically, the standard operating procedures for online schools has been established through our input," De Groot said.

The VCS has expanded its operations in recent months, adding a distance learning course, which allows high school seniors that have fallen behind in courses, to graduate on time.

"That's something this district is known for opening doors and helping all kids," De Groot said.

In other action, the School Board,

officially accepted the resignation of current superintendent Cal Cormack.

In September, Cormack, 65, announced he would retire at the end of the year.

His resignation will become effective June 30, 2003.

Cormack said he will stay on throughout the year to see the proposed bond issue through. He also said working in the Basehor-Linwood School District has been an honor.

"It has been a great opportunity and privilege for me to work with this Board of Education," Cormack said. "It has been a very fulfilling professional experience to work in Basehor-Linwood."

approved an agreement with the Kansas Association of School Boards to provide assistance in finding a new superintendent.

The KASB search will cost approximately $3,000, not including travel and other expenses.

The school district should have plenty of qualified candidates to choose from when looking for a new superintendent, Cormack said.

"This school district has attracted a lot of attention throughout the state of Kansas," Cormack said.

"It should be fun to look through resumes," he added.

approved an engineering fee proposal of $19,140 from Hoss and Brown Engineers Inc. for the replacement of an air conditioning system for Basehor-Linwood High School.

The fee includes design development, preparation of construction documents, bid and negotiations, and construction contract administration.

appointed School Board member Ron Owen as the KASB delegate and board member Chris Claflin as the alternate.

approved the resignations of Stacy Kempf, reading aid at Basehor Elementary School, and Lisa Stubbs, kitchen staff at BLHS.

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