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New charter school under construction in Keyes
New Keyes to Learning
Construction activity is taking place behind Spratling Middle School for a new three-acre campus for Keyes to Learning Charter High School. Students now attend class at a Turlock church (Photo contributed).

Keyes to Learning Charter School broke ground Nov. 12 to build a new middle school/high school campus in Keyes.

The campus will construct of eight portable classrooms and a small office on three acres behind Spratling Middle School and the district office on Lucinda Avenue. The campus is expected to receive the portables the first week of February, said Helio Brasil, the Keyes School District superintendent.

Keyes Charter has 332 students of which 120 are in the high school program. Students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade will continue to attend classes at the Keyes Elementary School campus, while high school students now attending classes at rented facilities at Covenant Church in Turlock will be housed on the new campus.

With only eight percent of its students residing in the Keyes school district boundaries, the school has attracted students living mostly in Turlock, Hughson and Denair.

Brasil explained that four years ago a lawsuit filed against the state resulted in a ruling that charter schools cannot operate campuses outside of district boundaries.

“Our choice was either close the charter school or build a new campus,” said Brasil. “We feel it provides service to students who don’t excel in a regular setting. We have a large number of independent students and some who come for a portion of the day.”

Keyes waited for the end of a two-year rental agreement to move the charter high school from Turlock into Keyes boundaries. He said the active parents and staff are excited about the “feeling of being back on a campus.”

 “We’re hoping to start – and everything is on track thus far – to begin operating in August for the 2019-20 school year,” said Brasil.

The use of portable classrooms has kept the project at $2.1 million. Brasil said the project is being funded in part by the Keyes district and supplemented with $1.5 million in other state funds.

“Our School Board is fully behind it,” noted Brasil.

The district will have eight acres remaining for building needs as Spratling continues to grow in the future.

Charter schools are public schools that receive funding from the state and have greater flexibility in hiring, curriculum, management and other aspects of their operations. Unlike traditional public schools that are run by school districts with an elected school board and a board-appointed superintendent, most charter schools are run by organizations with their own self-appointed boards. There are 630,000 students enrolled in California charter schools, which is about a tenth of the state’s total K-12 public-school student population.

KTL is one of the longest running charter schools in California. Established in 1995 as the 85th California charter school, its initial program was independent study home school grades K-8. Today, KTL offers a selection of educational program choices from grades K-12.

Keyes To Learning Charter School, working in partnership with families and the community, provides students with the materials, expertise and opportunities needed to be a productive citizen and lifelong learner. This is accomplished by offering individualized attention in one-on-one and small class settings using quality academic resources.

Keyes To Learning Charter School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.