After a successful 18-year partnership with Mattole Valley Charter School, Caspar Creek Learning Community opened the 2018-2019 school year with a new partner, Pivot Charter School North Bay, thus enabling the continuation of our existing Waldorf-influenced K-5 program centered around daily classes at our resource center east of Caspar. Under the new arrangement, Caspar Creek’s current model of Waldorf-inspired direct instruction will continue unchanged, but with the added availability for some students of the online curriculum that is a cornerstone of Pivot’s blend of online and in-person instruction.
From 2000 to 2018, Caspar Creek was a program of Mattole Valley Charter School, a non-classroom-based independent charter school authorized by Mattole Unified School District (in Humboldt County), with facilities inside Mattole Unified’s boundaries and resource centers both elsewhere in Humboldt County and in adjacent counties. An October 2016 appellate court decision (Anderson USD v. Shasta Secondary) introduced a novel interpretation of the existing charter school statute that has created major disruption, primarily for non-classroom-based independent study charter schools. Under this new interpretation, charter schools can no longer have facilities inside their home county but outside their authorizing district, although they may still have resource centers outside their county in adjacent counties. Though described by the lower court as creating an “absurd result,” this is nonetheless the current interpretation of the statute; review by the California Supreme Court was denied. With facilities outside its home district but inside its home county, MVCS needed to restructure to come into compliance with this new interpretation.
MVCS’s original restructuring plan, which included a county-wide benefit charter school authorized by Humboldt County for their Humboldt County out-of-district operations and the continuation of MVCS for their in-district and out-of-county operations, would have allowed Caspar Creek to continue with them. However, that plan hit a snag when Humboldt County balked at approving a county-wide benefit charter unless it encompassed all of MVCS’s Humboldt County operations, including those inside their authorizing district (Mattole Unified). MVCS was forced to rethink their restructuring plan and submit a modified petition that would not include out-of-county programs like Caspar Creek. In February, 2018, Humboldt County Board of Education approved that petition, so effective July 1, 2018, MVCS was essentially replaced by Northern United Humboldt County, a new charter school that, unlike MVCS, is limited to Humboldt County, bringing our 18-year partnership to a mutually-reluctant close.