CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Nevada's State Public Charter School Authority has approved an agreement that will allow Nevada Connections Academy to keep serving about 3,000 families in the state. Leaders of the state's largest online public school say they're relieved this isn't the end.
"We really have an opportunity to show that our students are here attaining the educational outcome that they aspire to reach," says Dr. Jafeth Sanchez, Nevada Connections Academy Board President.
The school was under review because of its low graduation rates which have never been above 44 percent. But as part of the resolution approved Wednesday, Nevada Connections Academy has agreed to implement several immediate changes. They include hiring a "turnaround specialist" and freezing enrollment of eleventh and twelfth graders so enrollment is capped at 1,500 high school students. Right now, there are more than 1,800. Officials with the State Public Charter School Authority say they expect to see results.
"The reason that's real accountability is because with each of those students comes public dollars, and they've agreed that they wouldn't be entitled to those public dollars if they don't meet those benchmarks, which is a financial hit of several million dollars," says Jason Guinasso, Chair of the State Public Charter School Authority.
The school must hit a graduation rate of 49 percent this year and 60 percent next year.
Katie Jorquez, a Nevada Connections Academy student from Sparks, went to the hearing in Carson City to hear the fate of her school. She was relieved to hear it's not closing any time soon. Now, she says she can stop worrying about other schooling options and focus on her actual education.
"I'll just continue doing my school work and hope for the best when the two years are done," says Jorquez.