The Youth and Family Academy (YAFA), of Pueblo, won an appeal heard by the State Board of Education this afternoon. The decision remands the matter back to the Pueblo 60 School District for further consideration. The vote was 6-1 with Elaine Berman being the sole dissenter.
Much of the debate centered on the charter school's contention that their growth data showed them doing as well or better than the other 60 Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) in the state. The school, which has been open since 1996 has consistently scored at the very bottom of achievement measures throughout its history. The related concern about student attendance was another area receiving a fair amount of discussion. The district stated the charter school doesn't send any students to truancy hearings even though the service provided by the district, doesn't have any cost for the school.
The board's discussion after both sides presented their cases was about there being an alternative that was a credible place for the students to attend if it weren't for the charter school. Currently the district has an administrator at the charter school and the charter school is operating without a contract or waivers. The district stated they were prepared to take over the school and even pay rent to the charter school's leaders in order to continue to use the facility.