Gilroy charter school aims for Hollister site, holding open house

Kindergartner Sarah Reyes, 5, works on a language arts computer program as she rotates through four stations during class in February at the Gilroy Prep School.

Organizers of a charter school in Gilroy are interested in opening a similar school in Hollister and will be holding an open house May 23.

Gilroy Prep School opened in the fall of 2011. Over the next five years, the residents who opened the Gilroy charter school have a goal of opening so-called “laboratory schools” in each Central Coast Community – including in Hollister, said James Dent, who helped to open Gilroy Prep and serves as its principal.

Organizers already have met with officials at the Hollister School District, while school officials from the area are expected to attend the open house at the Gilroy charter school, located at 277 IOOF Ave.

The event is “for people to come and see why our school is different.” It is set for 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with brunch included.

For an expanded feature on the charter school, go here. 

GPS currently offers grades kindergarten through second, has a total staff of 11 and will expand another grade each year up to the eighth grade. GPS is open to all students, although children in Gilroy are given enrollment priority over students in neighboring cities. GPS has its own Board of Education with seven trustees, but it must renew its charter through the Gilroy Unified School District on June 30, 2013. It’s a Title I school, meaning that its aim is to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students.

The facility has six portable classrooms, an administrative office, one computer lab, a cafeteria, five para-educators and six full-time teachers, including Dent – who fulfills multiple roles as administrator, principal and multi-subject teacher.

GPS is currently paying its teachers about 7 to 10 percent higher than the average GUSD teacher of the corresponding skill set and experience level. The long-term goal is to pay GPS teachers somewhere between 15 to 20 percent more than the average GUSD teacher salary, Dent said. Teachers salaries at GPS range from $46,000 to $96,000, with benefits comparable to those at GUSD. There is also a midyear bonus and a bonus for teachers who meet the state’s Academic Performing Index goals.

Those interested in attending the open house next week should RSVP by next Wednesday, May 21, by calling (831) 235-6650 or emailing [email protected].


Gilroy Prep School

• A charter school that opened in the fall of 2011.

• Located: 277 IOOF Ave. Call: (408) 432-5750

• Currently serves grades K-2. GPS will expand by one grade each year until reaching eighth grade

• Has room for 60 students per grade. GPS currently has 180 students enrolled. A projected 150 students are expected to be on the waiting list to register for kindergarten in the 2012-13 school year. 

• The enrollment lottery for GPS will take place April 21.

• To download and fill out an intent-to-enroll form, visit

• School Board members: Sharon Waller (Chair); Art Barron (Vice Chair); Deanne Gamba (Secretary); Brett Mosher (Treasurer); James Gargiulo; Paul Nadeau 

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