Forum on future charter school scheduled in Hollister

Engaged students answer questions from the teacher duirng class at Gilroy Prep.

A Gilroy-based charter school with plans to open a similar charter school in Hollister is hosting an educational forum June 13 at Paine’s Restaurant.

The forum is set for 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 13 at Paine’s, 421 East St., in downtown Hollister. In its announcement, the school underscored its college preparatory education, independence as a charter, school uniforms, an extended school day and the healthy lunch program.

Gilroy Prep School opened in 2011-12 with 180 students. It serves kindergarten through second grade and will gradually expand to K-8. Over the next five years, the Gilroy charter school has a goal of expanding into a network and opening laboratory schools in each Central Coast Community, including in the Hollister School District. 

School leaders are planning to open a Hollister charter school in 2013-14, according to Principal James Dent, who recently led a tour of the Gilroy charter school for San Benito County residents and officials.

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.

For a prior story on the Gilroy charter school’s success, go here. See the school’s website here.


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