Homeschool hybrid

The Medford School District has reason to be pleased with Logos Public Charter School: The new school was responsible for the district's second consecutive year of increased enrollment.

Under Oregon's public school funding formula, that's worth money.

Oregon funds school districts based on the number of students enrolled. Students who are homeschooled are not counted for purposes of per-student funding.

Logos, which opened its doors last year, was created by a group of homeschool parents who wanted to tap the resources of the school district without enrolling their children in a traditional school setting. Under the Logos model, parents can continue to direct their children's education at home, but meet weekly with a licensed teacher who helps plan and schedule lessons and monitor students' progress.

Other students are attracted to Logos because they don't fit in to a traditional public school environment for a variety of reasons.

Logos and Medford district leaders agreed to an enrollment cap of 300 for the school's first year, but the district agreed to allow Logos to grow to more than 350 by the end of last year, and the cap was lifted this year. So far, nearly 550 students are enrolled, and Logos officials expect the number to top 600 by the end of the school year.

Oregon law grants charter schools 80 percent of per-student funding to cover operating expenses. The sponsoring school district gets the remaining 20 percent in exchange for providing administrative services and oversight to make sure the school abides by its charter.

Public school districts have a tendency to resist charter schools out of fear they will siphon off students and with them, the bulk of the per-student funding that keeps district schools afloat. In the case of Logos, however, many of its students are homeschooled anyway. If they were not enrolled at Logos, those students wouldn't be counted as district pupils.

Logos gives homeschool parents support and guidance, while allowing their children to continue to study at home.

Traditional public education does a good job for most students, but it cannot hope to meet every child's needs. There will always be some students who do better outside a public school environment.

Logos offers an alternative that preserves the freedom of homeschooling while providing support and accountability. Medford district leaders deserve credit for helping to make that happen.

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