MONROE — Monroe Public Schools will take over operation of Orchard Center Alternative High School from the Mason Consolidated Schools. The transition is expected to take several months, and is necessitated by a drop in enrollment at Orchard that has led to a projected budget deficit by the end of the school year.
Orchard is in Monroe and includes programs for expelled students and adult education. With the Monroe school district in charge of operations, Orchard students can use the Knabusch Math Center, Monroe Virtual High School, and other resources.
Monroe Superintendent Barry Martin said his district would be able to reduce Orchard’s operational costs without cutting courses. Mason has operated Orchard for about 20 years under an agreement with the Monroe district, which owns the facility.
The Monroe district has received state funding for Orchard students, and Mason has billed Monroe on a per-pupil basis. The state funding and reporting processes are expected to be more efficient with Monroe in charge.