Rincon Valley district may expand charter school

The Rincon Valley School District is moving toward expanding its charter middle school program to accommodate an additional 180 students on a second campus by 2014-2015.

The district on Santa Rosa's east side now operates Rincon Valley Charter School on the campus of Sequoia Elementary School. It serves seventh and eighth grade students.

The district received more than 190 applications for the 90 seventh grade openings for the current school year, according to Superintendent Casey D'Angelo. To accommodate more students, the district proposes adding a seventh and eighth grade program to the Matanzas campus of the Spring Creek Matanzas Charter School.

"If families weren't asking for this, we wouldn't be doing this," he said.

Families who had spent years in the Rincon Valley system were leaving the lottery drawing upset, said Matt Reno, principal at both Sequoia Elementary and Rincon Valley Charter School.

"There is a need and request for more. We can't build this one any bigger," he said. "Now you have a number of people in the community, contributors here in the Rincon Valley community, who are disgruntled. They know the program works, they toured with their child and now they can't get in."

"This is a public business and we are in the business of making a difference in kids and when you make a difference in kids, people notice and word travels," Reno said.

The school board is expected to approve the move next month.

The prospect of adding an additional campus to the existing middle school puts additional pressure on Santa Rosa City Schools, which traditionally takes seventh graders from eight surrounding feeder districts, including Rincon Valley.

Students from Rincon Valley's district would typically matriculate to either Rincon Valley or Slater middle schools, two campuses within the Santa Rosa City School system.

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