Restraining order puts charter school decision on hold | SierraSun.com

Restraining order puts charter school decision on hold

Renee Shadforth

In the face of possible charter revocation, a judge granted Prosser Creek Charter School a 20-day restraining order against Tahoe Truckee Unified School District from taking any action on the school’s charter, according to district superintendent Dennis Williams.

The school district has claimed the charter school is in violation of California Education Code for its poor financial management and inability to balance its budget. The school board gave Prosser Creek until Aug. 7 to cure its violation, but the order will delay the decision of whether Prosser Creek will open its classroom doors next month.

“It’s hard on the families of Prosser Creek kids – that’s why we want a decision as soon as possible,” said district school board President Pat Gibbons-Johnson. “If they can present a budget that we feel can balance, that’s when we’ll cure.”

The charter school’s debt – which approaches the $4 million mark – has been a major issue for the school board.

Charter school officials say the district’s hands are “unclean” in Prosser Creek’s debt, citing the essential elements added to the charter have made it nearly impossible to balance their budget.

One essential element in particular – which forces the charter school to get rid of its out-of-district students by July 2004 – has the charter school scrambling to balance its budget. Two-thirds of Prosser Creek’s enrollment – thus two-thirds of its average daily attendance income from the state – comes from outside the district, said Prosser Creek Executive Director Jayna Gaskell.

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It’s a big enough disagreement to begin the dispute resolution process outlined in the charter, Prosser Creek officials say.

Williams said the education code violation supersedes any disagreement between the school district and charter school.