School board set for another vote on charter school

PNT Staff

Portales Municipal School Superintendent Randy Fowler said written reasons for denial of the proposed Horace Mann Charter School will be presented during a special school board meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

During the meeting, Fowler said the board is expected to rescind its previous action denying the application and vote on the issue again following presentation of the written reasons.

State statutes require the board to formally explain its reasons for denying the application in writing within 14 days. Fowler said the business slated for Wednesday’s agenda should fulfill that requirement.

Most of the funding for the new school would fall under the umbrella of Portales schools if the charter is approved.

Board members previously cited uneasiness with the missing details of the school’s plan as their reason for rejecting the charter.

Fowler explained that the district had conducted both an external review, done by a firm in Albuquerque, and an internal review, done by staff prior to last week’s recommendation of denial to the board.

“But we want to let the authors (of the charter) know those reasons,” Fowler said.

Fowler said rescinding the board’s previous action denying the application was just a formality and he doesn’t anticipate any new wrinkles.

“Unless something happens between now and Wednesday, I am assuming the vote will be the same,” Fowler said.

Horace Mann spokesperson Joan Brown said her group was informed of the meeting and said she understood it was mainly to get the reasons for denial into the minutes. She said her group is starting to prepare for the appeals process.

She said she’s under the understanding that the group has 60 days in which to file an appeal.

The school’s organizers propose to start with grades six through nine in the fall of 2007 and eventually have grades six through 12.

The school’s goal would be to provide a college preparatory alternative with an emphasis on math and sciences.