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MUSD Vocational Academy charter petition to go before board in February
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The petition to establish a Manteca Unified Vocational Academy charter school will come before the Board of Education for approval in February.

The recommendation by school district staff which put together the petition will be for the board to approve it, said Superintendent Jason Messer who gave the update on the charter school proposal during the trustees’ regular meeting Tuesday night.

No one spoke in favor or against the charter proposal during the public hearing scheduled immediately prior to Messer’s report.

The expected board’s approval of the district’s vocational education charter school will start the ball rolling toward the official opening of the school. There will be “informational nights” held at all the high school campuses in the district as to what the project is all about and who are the targeted students.

The vocational academy will offer programs for students in 11th and 12th grades who are interested in pursuing immediately employable skills in the following three program areas: culinary arts, industrial fabrication, and medical office.

The medical office program could serve as a head-start for students who may want to pursue more advanced studies in the field such as nursing. Students who enroll in the industrial fabrication program could end up graduating with a high school diploma plus a certification for a specific area of training that they selected that would make them eligible for employment right away. This particular program will have a broad spectrum of certificated training specialties that students will be able to choose from.

Students enrolled in the Vocational Academy would be able to graduate from high school with both a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree through Delta College.

Originally, police service was also considered for the academy’s two-year vocational curriculum. But that was scratched because the program would have involved the handling of guns which requires one to be at least 21 years of age.

“The Academy would be housed here in the district complex,” Messer said.

The old administration building and some portables throughout the district would be used as classrooms for the vocational academy. Some parts of the new farm complex behind the district building could also be used as classrooms, Messer said.

As to the costs involved in running and maintaining the vocational school, that’s an issue that will be discussed, he said.

Additionally, “the board will maintain full authority of the charter,” Messer stated.

Evaluation of the charter school will be the duty of the San Joaquin County Office of Education.