The Santa Rosa School Board is moving forward with an application to establish an online high school to open next fall.

On Wednesday night, school board members got an update on the application and were asked to decide whether the school should adopt a name before the official application is submitted to Sacramento.

The consensus was no – the process needs more time and public input and not having a name isn’t expected to damage the plan’s chances for approval in Sacramento, trustees agreed.

“It doesn’t seem to me there is a reason to rush this,” said Trustee Bill Carle.

“I think the public wants to be involved in this,” said Trustee Larry Haenel.

Board President Frank Pugh agreed, recalling the “tremendous lobbying” that occurs when schools are built and named.

Traditionally, the first class at the school is charged with picking colors and mascot, but with an online school the possibility remains that the school would have an affiliation with a comprehensive high school that would render such decisions moot, Bower said.

In the 2009-10 school year, more than 10,300 students were enrolled in charter schools in Sonoma County, according to the state Department of Education. Of those, 7,992 were in a site-based program, 2,027 were in independent study and 360 were in a so-called hybrid program that offers online curriculum in combination with some on-site instruction.

The longest-running online school in Sonoma County, California Virtual Academy, has grown from 185 kindergarten through 12th-graders in its first year in 2004-05 to 1,026 last school year. The school is based in Simi Valley, but authorized locally by Liberty School District

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