Ogden's DaVinci Academy seeks to enroll more students

Wednesday , August 09, 2017 - 5:00 AM

ANNA BURLESON, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — DaVinci Academy of Science and the Arts is seeking to enroll more students because there are more than 150 children on the school’s waiting list.

Executive Administrator Fred Donaldson said the school is seeking to increase its enrollment cap from 1,100 to 1,250. The school’s request will go to the State Charter School Board at a meeting Friday, Aug. 11.

Donaldson said he thinks families are drawn to DaVinci because of their high-quality teachers.

“We focus on relationships and, of course, the science and arts, and when teachers come here, we try to give them the most flexibility and best leadership possible,” he said.

Donaldson said the last count he saw had 150-200 students on the school’s waiting list, but board documents say 200-300 students are wait-listed from the Ogden area.

“We often have to turn away students who are experiencing extreme hardships and just need a second chance to turn things around,” the request states.

Donaldson said the waiting list fluctuates throughout the school year as students transfer to other schools.

All of Utah’s charter schools, including DaVinci Academy, use a lottery system if more students apply than there are spots available.

At DaVinci, Donaldson said, students are ranked first come, first serve, as their paperwork is completed. They can then enroll as seats become available.

The school already has 1,168 students enrolled and data presented at a December 2016 State Charter School Board meeting show DaVinci Academy was over-enrolled by 6.2 percent. Meeting minutes state the board sent letters to all over-enrolled schools reminding them of their charters and enrollment caps.

Donaldson said DaVinci asked for a waiver on its cap last school year, and that it’s hard to predict how many students will want to attend.

“It always fluctuates,” he said. “There are always kids who come and go.”

Should the board approve the school’s request, students on the waiting list will be notified immediately, but Donaldson said the enrollment increase won’t go into effect until the 2018-19 school year.

As a public charter school, DaVinci Academy must abide by its charter, which is authorized by the state board.

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at aburleson@standard.net or 801-625-4274. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

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