Last week’s notice
of a public hearing for the “South Shore Classical Academy” charter school
on Sept. 14 was met with surprise by the Duneland School officials but not
School Board meeting, Duneland Schools Superintendent David Pruis and school
board members expressed opposition to having a charter school here on the
basis that the institution would be using tax money that otherwise would go
to the public school system.
Kristin Kroeger said she “continues to be amazed and somewhat perplexed”
that state lawmakers allow for charter school funding and added that charter
schools are “very impactful on our (public) schools” by pulling funds away.
She and Pruis
argued that although charter schools boast good educational opportunities
for teaching children, Duneland offers a host of programs that are among the
best in the state.
“I can’t imagine
any (charter school) competing with the breadth and depth of what we have,”
School Board member
Brandon Kroft criticized those proposing the South Shore Classical Academy
charter school for never having contacted the Duneland Schools ahead of
time, although they had contacted officials in Valparaiso. Pruis said last
Monday’s notice was “the first he’d heard of it” and a public hearing means
that the application is pretty far long in the process.
website says the public hearing is step 4 or 5 and it would have to make a
decision for authorization by Oct. 10.
The public hearing
for the charter application is from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Westchester
Library Service Center.
www.southshoreclassical.org, the school would open in Fall 2017 for
grades K-10, with grades 11 and 12 to be added in later curriculum years.
Curriculum would be focused on classical education studying the works of
Shakespeare and Dante, among others, and character building.
The website says
that different locations around Porter County are being considered for the
school, although its application has referred to a location at 700 North and
50 West in Liberty Twp.
“It will serve only
to separate and segregate students. It will dilute our support and funding
from the state. And yours truly is not in favor of it,” Pruis said.
Pruis said people
will need to sign in to speak at the public hearing starting at 4:45 p.m.
and will be given a maximum of three minutes to state their comments.
Supporters of public education are encouraged to wear red.
Those who cannot
attend the hearing Wednesday can submit written comments via email by
Monday, Sept. 19, at email@example.com.
Pruis expects a
crowd at the hearing as there is great opposition as well from the
Valparaiso Community Schools. VCS Superintendent Ric Frataccia posted a
response late last week that he too urges the charter not be approved.
A tree for Ralph
Superintendent comments, Pruis said that earlier on Monday a red bud tree
was planted in the courtyard at CHS in memory of Ralph Ayres, a longtime
teacher and supporter of the Duneland Schools.
A ceremony was
hosted by CHS student government with Ayres’ friends and family in
attendance. Leading the ceremony with a dedication was student government
vice-president Amber Heilmann.
9/11 Never Forget
CHS Senior Hayley O’Keefe and her family for once again remembering those
who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by placing
2,977 small U.S. flags in front of the CHS football stadium. The display was
kept up Monday so it could be seen by students coming to school.
Elementary, physical education teacher LouAnn Hopson is getting children to
school in a healthy way by introducing a “walking school bus,” Pruis said.
The “bus,” led by
adult supervisors, marches through neighborhoods close to Brummitt on
Fridays and students can collectively walk to school. The first walking
school bus started in the Wake Robin area last Friday. A second will be in
the Graham Woods area this Friday and a third is scheduled in Duneland Cove
for Friday, Sept. 23.
Pruis also reminded
that local community groups and organizations interested in marching in the
CHS Homecoming Parade on Friday, Sept. 23 have until this Friday to contact
assistant principal Robert Blumenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org