Orange Unified School Board trustees have about one month to decide whether to experiment with new programs when they reopen the old McPherson Middle School this fall.
Administrators are pushing for a magnet elementary school, one that focuses on science, math and technology or one that emphasizes basic skills. That way, the district would not have to redraw attendance boundaries or provide busing for the new school, Assistant Supt. Neil McKinnon said during a school board meeting Thursday.
But some conservative trustees said they want the district committee studying the issue to consider opening McPherson as a charter school. Under state law, that is the only kind of school that can contract with for-profit educational companies to run the schools because charters are released from regulations of the Education Code.
The district was approached last year by the controversial Edison Project, a New York-based company run by media entrepreneur Christopher Whittle. The company continues to be in contact with administrators about its prospects in the district, said Supt. Robert L. French. "They are anxious to locate in California," he said.