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South Verde to stay put for now

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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South Verde Technology Magnet School, aka South Verde High School, is staying put at its Main Street location for the time being.

The school district leases the current Main Street location, Superintendent Dan Brown said, and there had been some talk about moving the entire school and its students to a new location.

The board was looking at using a school-owned building on Apache Trail, currently home to Yavapai College's Camp Verde campus.

But the school district has pledged to keep South Verde at its current location for at least another year, Brown said, and that's the course of action he's recommending to the board.

While the school isn't moving, it has been a year of changes at South Verde.

The school is up and running as a charter school, the first such charter granted to a public school board in Arizona. The charter came about as a way to take advantage of a so-called loophole in state law which allows the Camp Verde Unified School District to earn money from the school as a charter as well as money owed to the district from the previous year when South Verde was still technically a public school.

The deal is a one-shot, as far as the money is concerned; there will be no additional funding in future school years. Still, in a period where budgets are constricting more than in recent memory, the school board went with the charter school plan to find every extra dollar that might be out there.

The school, which relied heavily on computer-based OdysseyWare education software, recently switched to a new program, A+, for the majority of its curriculum. The switch already seems to be producing results, principal Steve King said.

Students have already shown an increase in reading and v/riting scores on standardized state testing, and King hopes to see the improvement continue. The new software also seems to be reliable.

"In five months, we haven't had a single outage," King said.

Computer problems have been reduced to the point where the school's computer tech, Alan Minner, has been transferred to other duties in the district.

"I have absolutely no complaints about the software," King said.

It's also a critical part of maintaining the school's charter; the district had to prove to the state that South Verde would be significantly different from its previous incarnation in order to qualify for the charter's approval.

Having a charter school run by the district means the school board members are going to have to be fingerprinted and submit to a background check. They aren't suspected of any illicit behavior, but the law requires charter school board members undergo scrutiny before they are allowed to be responsible for children and their education.

The fact that the public school board was duly elected doesn't matter in the eyes of the law, since the board is technically a different legal entity when acting as a public board and a charter school board. The background checks are required for all groups organizing a charter school, the vast majority of which are run privately.



Copyright 2010 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

© 2010 The Camp Verde Journal Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from DAS.

Original Publication Date: January 20, 2010



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