Idaho charter school requests inquiry into state commission

Posted at 5:20 AM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 07:20:31-04

JEROME, Idaho — An Idaho charter school requested an investigation into a state commission it said is biased, a report said.

Administrators at Heritage Academy in Jerome have filed a request with the Idaho Attorney General to investigate the state Public Charter School Commission, The Times-News reported Saturday.

The investigation is necessary to address what it believes is bias against certain charter schools, school attorney Joe Borton said.

The commission held a private executive session in April to examine charter renewals for several schools. In June, the commission accidently released audio from the meeting in which its chairman can be heard advocating against renewal of Heritage's charter.

"Due to a mistake, it was recorded. Then because of another mistake, it was sent out," Chairman Alan Reed said.

Commissioners said Heritage Superintendent Christine Ivie was pleased with the school's drop to the state's bottom 5% in academic achievement rankings that qualified it for an additional $87,098 of federal funds, the newspaper reported.

One commissioner can be heard suggesting Ivie and the school board are not interested in education and "should run a social service agency, not a school."

Only 13% of Heritage students rank proficient in math and 17% proficient in English language arts, according to 2018 state education department data. The district rate is 30% in math and 39% in language, records showed.

The comments were "inaccurate and derogatory," Ivie said.

"I work with talented educators every day, and I am proud of the hard work and accomplishments of the teachers and students at our school," she said.