Rockford organization hopes fourth time's the charm for GreenTek - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford organization hopes fourth time's the charm for GreenTek charter school


Comprehensive Community Solutions is applying, for its 4th time since 1999, to open a charter school. With a new overall community goal in mind, plus different school board members since the last time the organization applied to open one, CEO Kerry Knodle is feeling good about this time around.

"First step is to get the charter approved," says Kerry Knodle, Comprehensive Community Solutions CEO. "Then you can turn the key and start the engine."

He has definitely heard the word no a lot, in 1999, 2001, and most recently, in 2009. Now he's back again with GreenTek, a school focusing on high school drop outs, education, and "green" technology construction.

"By creating this new resource and offering young people the opportunity to build their resumes, both educationally, and vocationally, we think that's a win win win for the community," Knodle says.

Rockford Public Schools has to approve it though. Administrators say the school board has to make sure it's economically sound.

"If there was a piece, that they didn't feel the budget was adequate to run a school, or there were some educational pieces they felt were missing, or would not meet state requirements, then that might cause it to not pass," says Vicki Jacobson, Rockford Public Schools Executive Director.

The school would be open to anyone 17 to 21 years old. It would be the first high school charter, in Rockford. Right now there are three elementary charters, but Rockford Public Schools still says, for it to pass, there has to be prior success to back it up.

"If you don't have good data, and it doesn't look like it's been successful with the population you serve, then I think it's not going anywhere," says Jacobson.

With a charter school, the curriculum does not have to work along side Rockford Public Schools, so the school will be based on skills rather than credits. Knodle says students could finish in two years, and if all goes well, he hopes to open in Fall 2013.

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