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Some families considering charter or private schools during pandemic

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 16:17:34-04

More parents are deciding to enroll their children in private or charter schools.

This comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom's recent announcement that schools in counties on the state's COVID-19 monitoring list will not be able to physically reopen at the beginning of the school year. San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are both on that list.

"I have never seen this type of interest in the 10 years that I've been involved with charter schools," said Kathy Grbac, Family Partnership Charter School Director of Operations and Student Records. "I know Friday I spent the entire day answering phone calls and I would say it's gone up by 200%, the interest of the school."

Enrollment at Family Partnership Charter School has already increased by more than 125 students compared to this same time last year.

Charter and private schools are not exempt from Governor Newsom's distanced learning order through the Fall. However, the charter school has offered this sort of learning since 2006.

"We're not new at doing this," Grbac said. "We've got a lot of experience at doing the hybrid or the homeschooling model."

While some grade levels are waitlisted, others have openings. However, enrollment could soon be capped.

"Because the state does not plan to reimburse us for educating students over the number of students we had enrolled on February 29," Grbac said.

The Lawrence family in San Luis Obispo is finding the best alternative education for their children.

"Taking the kids out of the public school system was really difficult," said Ryan Lawrence.

He and his wife, Maartje, are going the private school route with their 6th, 3rd, and 1st graders.

"Back in the Spring, running a business together and homeschooling our children was very difficult," Lawrence explained. "SLOCA has resources for families. You are actually a teacher to our children and there are people helping you teach your children."

Schools can reopen for in-person learning once they are off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days.