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Credo High School's charter status stays put

  • Ninth graders Shanti Deslauriers, 14, left, Chloe Scott, 14, and Kaelin Hall, 14, laugh as they take part in a gossip exercise during their English class at Credo High School in Rohnert Park in this August, 2013 file photo. The school district rescinded its notice of intent to revoke the charter for Credo High School on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

The Cotati-Rohnert Park School Board has rescinded its notice of intent to revoke the charter for Credo High School, ostensibly putting an end to months of acrimony between the fledgling school and its chartering school district.

“We intend to be as hands-off as the education code allows us,” said Cotati-Rohnert Park Superintendent Robert Haley. “What we heard two weeks ago was they just need space to move from surviving to thriving. So we intend to give them that space.”

The 5-0 vote Monday night ended a process begun in June when the board made formal the notice of violation, accusing Credo officials of financial and administrative mismanagement.

On Sept. 23, the board voted to officially proceed with the revocation but allowed backers of the Waldorf-inspired school extra time to address its debt and administrative issues.

But Credo backers did not need 45 days.

In the past week, Credo backers have paid $57,337 owed to the district and $4,743 to PG&E, the city of Rohnert Park and Rohnert Park Disposal.

School and district officials are making clear to Credo's creditors that the district is not liable for the school's ongoing financial obligations.

“We cleared up our short term debt with them,” Credo board president Maria Martinez said. “I think that was a big piece of the puzzle.”

“The fundraising really made a huge difference,” she said. “The momentum from the parents is huge. We didn't have that before.”

Credo also has progressed in the accreditation process, which is critical to getting college prepatory curriculum approved by the state university systems. A decision by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges on Credo's accreditation is expected in January, Martinez said.

The high school currently serves about 100 ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders, putting a premium on low-technology and art-heavy curriculum. It stands out academically — posting the third-highest state test scores of any high school in Sonoma County in its first two years.

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