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Ripon Elementarys undeserved black-eye removed by state
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RIPON – Ripon Elementary School that earned state distinguished school ranking and at the same time was listed as an underperforming school is officially off the politically motivated hit list targeting bad schools.

That list had been the state Department of Education’s 1,000 low-achieving schools for 2010-11 and 2011-12 as specified under the Open Enrollment Act – or the Romero Bill – which was enacted into law last summer.

Ripon Unified submitted a waiver request to have Ripon Elementary removed from the dubious open enrollment list in January.

“We are proud to say that Ripon Elementary is no longer on the list,” Superintendent Louise Nan said Monday at the school board meeting.

The language in the Romero Bill required the lowest achieving school in each district to have open enrollment. However, all of Ripon’s schools exceed the state standards and already have open enrollment. By placing Ripon Elementary on the list, it created a stigma that wasn’t justified.

No formal action was necessary by State Board of Education, according to Christine Gordon, who is the state’s consultant waiver officer.

State Code specifies that “if formal action by the SBE on a waiver request is not taken by the second regular meeting of the board following receipt of a completed and documented request…the waiver shall be deemed approved for one year.”

Gordon, in her Feb. 18 letter to Katy Coleman, Ripon Unified’s director of curriculum and categorical programs, said of the disposition: “Approved – no formal action take by SBE by the second regular meeting.”

Ripon Elementary earned kudos as a 2010 Distinguished School. This state program honors the most exemplary and inspiring public school.

This kindergarten- through eighth- grade site also exceeded the state’s “800” target in the Academic Performance Index of the Standardized Testing And Reporting.

The STAR scores, incidentally, were part of the complicated formula used by the state in determining the schools placed on the Romero Bill list.

Ripon Unified already has an open enrollment policy. The worse-case scenario under the Romero Bill would have allowed parents of Ripon Elementary to transfer their student out of the district.