Utah charter schools celebrate 20 years

Inside Utah Politics

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) –  It’s a milestone year for Utah charter schools as they celebrate 20 years of providing parents an alternative in education.

Bethany Blair with Red Apple Financial stops by Inside Utah Politics and gives us a look back at the role these schools play in Utah education and what the future holds. 

“20 years ago there were charter schools elsewhere in the country and people in Utah looked at that and said I think that that may be a good thing for us. We’re looking for a way to innovate to enrich our system that we have already and so the legislation opened that up for that and people jumped on that wagon,” Blair said. 

Charter schools give parents a no-cost choice when it comes enrolling their children. 

“Charter schools are public schools that are a part of our public education system, but they are not necessarily within a district, but some are. It’s just another public school option for families,” said Blair. 

These schools also play an important role within the community. 

“Most charter school founders started their school because they saw a need. We had the rich public school system and there were places where we needed some more help. So charter school founders would come in and say hey let’s try this. Let’s try a school with maybe a smaller class size or for refugees or that’s bilingual or all of these different things that they thought could support our community and that’s how they got going,” said Blair.

Some schools also have certain areas that they specialize in which can help children who have certain interests. 

“Every child is different and has different needs and every family is looking for something special for them and that’s hard to do. We have a lot of kids and we love all of them. Charter schools just open that space in which there might be something for your kid there that may not be offered elsewhere at a different charter school or a district school nearby,” Blair said.  

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