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posted: 1/27/2014 5:58 PM

Batavia schools consider online learning cooperative

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The Batavia school board Tuesday will consider whether to join three other school districts in a cooperative to offer online and blended learning.

It is being asked to enter the second phase of the project, implementation, at a cost of $96,450 to start, according to a memo on the district's website.

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Representatives from Batavia, Naperville Unit District 203, Wheaton Warrenville District 200, Kaneland School District 302 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 have met in the last year to discuss forming a cooperative. The Kaneland board voted earlier this month to drop out, citing concerns over the cost relative to the value.

The cooperative would offer, in its first year, classes to high school students. Based on its enrollment compared to the other districts, Batavia would receive 26 seats per semester. It would have to allocate the equivalent of one-third of a teacher to the program.

The classes offered initially would be U.S. history, government, health, consumer economics, algebra, geometry, credit-recovery English, and several unspecified electives.

The consortium was a response to the failed attempt last winter and spring by a nonprofit group to start an online charter school involving 18 school districts, including Batavia, in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Kendall, Will, DeKalb and McHenry counties.

All the districts denied the applications for the school. The school appealed to the state's charter school commission, then withdrew its plans. A one-year moratorium on applications for new online charter schools ends this spring.

School officials were critical of the specific proposal, which involved having the for-profit company K12 run the school, not the idea of online and blended learning. Blended learning involves students learning online and in person.

The Batavia school board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the Rosalie Jones Administration Center, 135 W. Wilson St.

It will also discuss the annual update of the capital projects plan, and whether to refund up to $31 million in bonds to save on interest. Those two topics will also be discussed at a noon finance committee meeting Tuesday at the administration center.

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