Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lotus Loses Appeal to State Board

On a 6-1 vote, the State Board of Education upheld the district's decision to deny the Lotus School of Excellence-Longmont charter school application.

The Lotus board operates a school in the Aurora School District and planned to replicate its program in Longmont. The St. Vrain Valley School District denied the application due to concerns about conflicts of interest, comingling of funds, governance not being local, projected enrollment, facility issues, and it not being a unique choice within the district. The district hit hard on what it considered inappropriate financial transactions by the Lotus board in Aurora, which was that board members secured personal loans to cover facility costs. Loans from two former board members are still outstanding.

The charter school developers explained their intentions for board governance that included parent representation on the board and a School Accountability Committee at each location.

After little discussion the State Board voted for a motion brought by Marcia Neal to uphold the local school district. State Board Chair, Bob Schaffer, was the lone nay vote for the motion. Both Paul Lundeen and Marcia Neal expressed their desire to support charter schools, but were uncomfortable in supporting this particular charter school given concerns that had been raised during the hearing.

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