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Sentinel staff report–
Charter school advocates won a victory Tuesday night when the Sacramento County Board of Education voted 5-2 to allow a new public charter school to operate within the San Juan Unified School District. The school, American River Collegiate Academy, had been denied its charter application by the local school board.
In a post on social media, showing board chambers with standing room only, the academy said it was “thrilled” with the county board’s vote. “We are so thankful for the outpouring of parent and community support that helped us get here,” the academy’s post said.
Spokeswoman Ann Bouchard said a temporary site for the academy will open this fall, about a mile outside the Citrus Heights city limits, at 7755 Hazel Ave. She said the school is “committed to locate permanently in Citrus Heights,” but a nearby temporary site was secured while potential sites within the city limits continue to be evaluated.
The lack of a permanent site being identified was among several reasons the charter school’s initial request was denied by the San Juan school board last year.
The charter school had received the support of the Citrus Heights City Council, who voted unanimously last month to send a letter to the board of education in support of the school. Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins was also active in encouraging community members to send emails to the board and attend the Feb. 4 public hearing.
Bruins told The Sentinel in an email Saturday that she was “very pleased” with the county board’s decision to approve the charter school.
“The families in Citrus Heights now have an additional choice for educating their children, one with a 20 year track record of educational excellence,” she said. “This is a good day for Citrus Heights.”
Enrollment applications for the new school are already being accepted for grades K-2. The school plans to add more grade levels and classes in subsequent years, until it reaches a full slate of K-12 classes. Enrollment applications are accepted through Feb. 29, with students selected through a public lottery process.
The American River Collegiate Academy is part of the Rocklin Academy Family of Schools, which currently operates four campuses in Placer County. The schools are tuition-free and open to all students, but children within the San Juan Unified School District will receive admission preference, according to Bouchard.
The board of education’s vote to approve the charter appeal came with several conditions relating to student recruitment, budget and requirements for school facilities, which Bouchard said the academy agreed to adhere to.
Additional information about the American River Collegiate Academy can be found online at www.rocklinacademy.com/arca.
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