Charter school threatens litigation against district: TTUSD contends ed code violation supercedes any disputes
August 5, 2003
With one day until the school board decides whether it will revoke Prosser Creek Charter School’s charter, Prosser Creek’s attorneys are seeking litigation against the school district.
Prosser Creek attorney Paul C. Minney has asked the court to require the school district to engage in a dispute resolution process with the charter school before continuing with the revocation process.
“We feel there are some outlying disagreements that we need to resolve before we look at revocation,” Minney said Tuesday afternoon.
On July 1, the school district delivered a “notice to cure or face revocation” to the charter school, citing the school was in violation of California Education Code, refused to sign a memorandum of understanding and violated the terms of its charter.
On July 14, Minney sent notification to school district attorney Mattie Scott that Prosser Creek was beginning the dispute resolution process outlined in the charter. On July 30, more than two weeks later, the school district’s counsel responded that there is “no dispute,” according to a letter addressed to district counsel and forwarded to the Sierra Sun.
The disagreements, Minney noted, involve the district’s assertion that Prosser Creek has “refused to enter into the MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the district.” Minney also claimed that the district promised to provide financial assistance to the charter school if Prosser Creek agreed to the essential elements.
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“Without the promise of financial assistance,” Minney wrote, “the charter school would not be able to balance its budget after agreeing to cut its revenue by 60 percent” when the school district required the school to eliminate out-of-district students.
School district’s position
District Superintendent Dennis Williams said although the focus of the conflict has been placed on the possible revocation, the district and charter school have been working on curing the charter school’s alleged violation.
“So much effort has been put into curing that nobody wants to revoke the charter at this point, but we have a legal responsibility of oversight,” Williams said.
The district has accused the charter school of failing to meet generally accepted accounting principles and financial mismanagement. The district’s stance, Williams said, has been that the education code violation overrules any dispute between the two parties.
On June 25, Prosser Creek asked Tahoe Truckee for a $2 million-plus financial contribution in order to help make the charter school balloon debt payment next year.
The budget Prosser Creek administrators submitted to the district is only balanced with the assumption that the district will purchase seven of the charter school’s portables for $485,000 and give a district loan to the charter school for $1,584,000, said district consultant Terri Ryland. No such agreement has been put into writing.
The revenue accounted for in Prosser Creek’s budget has not been offset as an expenditure in the district’s budget, Ryland added.
At last count Prosser Creek had an alleged $3.5 million in debt.
The school board will meet Aug. 7 at 10 a.m. in the district boardroom to decide whether it will revoke Prosser Creek’s Charter.