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Numbers Show Well For Charter Academy
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Escalon Unified School District opened a new school this year, the Escalon Charter Academy. The Charter Academy, often heard spoken about as the "charter school" was opened so that the students enrolled in the charter school would help to offset the enrollment losses the district has experienced over the last several years.

District Superintendent Ron Costa said the goal of the district was to have a first year enrollment of 20 students. That goal, however, was far exceeded, as the charter school has a current enrollment of 36 students.

"Since 2006, enrollment within the district has decreased by over 340 students," Costa explained. "Much of that is due to changing demographics (an older population) and families with children moving out of the district. The remainder of the loss is due to neighboring districts no longer allowing their students to leave their district boundaries and enroll in an Escalon school."

With lower enrollment comes less funding from the state in per capita aid per student, and the charter school can also benefit the district in that area.

"The Charter Academy, which is open to Kindergarten through 8th grade students and is housed at Collegeville, Dent and El Portal, allows students to enroll in our district without receiving permission from their resident districts," Costa said. "In this sense, charter students sit in the same classroom as Escalon students and also get to enjoy the high quality educational programs and experiences for which our district is known.

"The charter students help the district maintain student numbers, which helps to maintain state revenue, so that beneficial programs for all students can continue to be offered in these very challenging financial times."

While this year the charter school is open to kindergarten through eighth grade students, district officials said the ultimate goal is to open it up to all grade levels, eventually including high school (9 through 12) students in the charter system.