Ears on the Board of Education: October 17, 2019

by Diane Payne

This meeting’s agenda held two hot-button items.  Two Renaissance charter schools, Aspira Olney High School and Aspira Stetson Middle School, had been recommended for non-renewal twice, in 2016 and 2019, as a result of Aspira’s failure to meet academic, financial, and organizational standards. Aspira’s admittedly improper, often fraudulent, financial practices had been well documented in the local media since 2013.  APPS members had testified, written letters, and appealed to local elected officials to resolve the Aspira matter after postponements by both the SRC and the Board. The District held 16 days of legal hearings last Spring in which lawyers for Olney and Stetson failed to refute the many deficiencies exposed by the Charter School Office (CSO). Rudolph Garcia, who presided over those hearings, had presented his report to the Board last week.  Garcia echoed the CSO’s recommendation for non-renewal. Aspira brought staff, parents and students to fight for continued Aspira control of the schools, touting the improved climate at the schools. But last-minute personal testimonies do not negate extensive documentation of the many flagrant deficiencies across all domains at these two charter schools.

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