Unified looks for ways to keep kids in district | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Unified looks for ways to keep kids in district

The loss of students to charter schools or home-schooling is not significant in the current declining enrollment phenomenon at Lake Tahoe Unified but it could offset this year’s student loss of more than 200 students, school officials said.

Diane Scheerhorn, superintendent of Lake Tahoe Unified School District, said the district has flirted with options to attract charter school students by expanding existing alternative education programs or opening its own magnet school.

Scheerhorn wants to attract more than 200 students who are eligible to attend public school. The figure comes from an August county superintendent meeting, she said.

“It’s an opportunity for us, but I believe whenever parents have the opportunity of choosing education for their child, public education needs to reach out to meet the diverse educational needs of all families,” Scheerhorn said.

The issue of losing students to education options other than public school rose during a Nov. 7 meeting comprised of mostly Sierra House Elementary parents concerned about the future of their school.

Scheerhorn and two school board members were at the meeting to listen to concerns.

The superintendent didn’t have hard numbers for district students lost to home or charter schools, but guessed the figures have remained constant.

“Unless in our parent exit interviews they indicate with us or the school that (their children) are being home-schooled, we do not have accessibility to those numbers in our community,” Scheerhorn said.

In Douglas County, Assistant Superintendent Roy Casey said parents are required to submit a form for release from mandatory attendance to take their child out of public education. At a meeting today at Kingsbury Middle School, the Douglas County School District board of trustees is expected to approve 18 home-school requests for 25 students.

“We can keep track of students that way,” Casey said. “We’ve always had a percentage of students who were home-schooled because of parents’ choice.”

A detailed home-school report will be presented to the Douglas County school board in December.

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com

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