SEASIDE — Cannon Beach will once again have an elementary school next fall.
The Seaside School District 10 Board of Directors unanimously approved a three-year contract with Cannon Beach Academy on Wednesday evening in front of a packed room.
Under the district’s conditions, the new charter school will serve a minimum of 44 kindergarten and first-grade students its first year, with the ability to add grades over time. The charter eventually wants to host kindergarten through fifth-grade students.
“We’re very willing to work together to compromise,” said Ryan Hull, president of the academy’s board of directors.
Hull noted he will have to “chew on” the first year grade limit to analyze how it will impact the school, but added he understands the decision from the district’s point of view.
Board Chairman Steve Phillips said the limited number of students that first year will make the charter “economically more viable” for the district.
Cannon Beach Academy had planned on a student capacity of 85 for the first year. Superintendent Doug Dougherty noted the loss of a little more than half that number of students will drain roughly $255,900 from the district.
Board member Hugh Stelson said Seaside will not only see a small reduction in staff, but likely cuts in programs.
“This district seems to piece little pieces together and run on duct tape sometimes,” he said. “There’s not a lot of extra money around.”
Phillips said Seaside School District 10 will adjust. Cuts have been made in the past and “we still have a great school district,” he said.
Other conditions include the academy’s ability to secure proof of its English Language Learners program by March 1, building safety permits by Aug. 15, proof of insurance by Aug. 30, documents showcasing financial stability and an ability to comply with any tsunami inundation zone line changes.
Stelson said the academy should have an accountability metric to prove it is “just as good as the district.”
Vice Chairman Mark Truax said the school will be a part of the district and under its responsibility.
While negotiations remain, Hull said none of the conditions seem unreasonable. “I think we can achieve every condition imposed,” he added.
Top priority for the academy is meeting physical building requirements at its temporary location at 171 Sunset Blvd. The vacated space, which takes up 3,500 square feet of the 6,000-square-foot building, once housed the Cannon Beach Athletic Club. The charter school plans to open next fall if it can meet all conditions.
Cannon Beach Elementary closed in 2013 for financial reasons and fears for student safety. The building, now shuttered, lies in the tsunami inundation zone.
The school district had issued two previous denials to the academy last year, citing lack of an adequate location and secure start-up funds.
The school plans to eventually settle into a permanent site south of town and east of U.S. Highway 101.