Printed on: October 03, 2012

Creation of charter school delayed

By Nate Sunderland
nsunderland@postregister.com

A decision on the creation of Odyssey Charter School in Idaho Falls has been postponed until December.

The Idaho Public Charter School Commission opted to delay its decision Sept. 20 based on corrections that needed to be made to the school's charter.

"Our responsibility is to check that the charter is right with the law," Commission Chairman Alan Reed said. "There were a few things about (Odyssey) the commission still found that needed to be worked on."

The commission made three major suggestions:

Odyssey needs to provide better documentation about services and expenses that are incurred in creation of the school.

Odyssey needs to request comment from surrounding school districts about its creation. Odyssey aims to serve sixth- to 12th-grade students living in Bonneville County, Jefferson County and Shelley School District 60.

Odyssey's charter school petition needs to be revised, proofread and edited for better clarity, flow and professionalism.

Commission staffers also expressed concern that Odyssey's professional development plan for training teachers and staff may be insufficient to initiate a project-based learning system.

Similar to the new Compass Academy in Idaho Falls School District 91, Odyssey will be a magnet school focusing on project-based, hands-on learning.

Commission staffers also voiced concern that enrollment at the school initially may be smaller than predicted by petitioners Chris and Karl Peterson.

Efforts to reach the Petersons were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The proposed school could open in September 2013 to about 325 sixth- to 10th-grade students and add grades 11 and 12 in subsequent years. The school's enrollment cap is expected to be about 700.

The location of the proposed charter school has not yet been announced.

Nate Sunderland can be reached at 542-6763. Comment on this story on Post Talk at www.postregister.com/posttalk/.