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Charter school committee off to a slow start

In less than two months, the School Board’s Select Committee will make a decision about whether or not to recommend that the Loudoun Math and IT Academy will be allowed to open in Loudoun.
The process is off to a slow start as voting on elementary attendance zones approaches and hearings for the school system’s Capital Improvement Program and Capital Asset Preservation Program begin.
The second meeting, held Monday evening, was an hour long public hearing.

Some time in the meeting was scheduled as a work session where members were could have discussed school governance, but the 18 scheduled speakers took up the vast majority of the hour.

Furthermore, the meeting was scheduled immediately before the School Board’s first work session on the capital improvement program and capital asset protection program, limiting the amount of time the Board could spend addressing the proposed charter school.

The committee, made up of chair Jeff Morse (Dulles), Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) and Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge), will schedule at least one other work session when the members are free.

“There a lot of different sections we want to go through,” Morse said after the meeting. “I anticipate adding at least one other working session.”

He said school governance, curriculum and transportation were areas he wanted to address.

No other work sessions are formally scheduled as of Monday night. Two public hearings are scheduled for Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.

Information about Monday’s meeting was sent out via email to Connect-Ed subscribers, according to Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard.

A schedule and tentative agenda for the meetings can be found in the minutes of the first meeting of the Select Committee on the school system’s website.

No specific agenda was sent out for Monday’s meeting.

Mindy Williams, a partner at Access Point Public Affairs representing the charter school applicants, said Monday she’d had little communication with the School Board and received no agenda or questions for the applicants from the School Board.

“We don’t know more than anyone else knows,” Williams said Monday afternoon.

She said Monday afternoon she’d rather have a public hearing Monday as she wanted the applicants to prepare before the meeting.

“Our hope is we’re able to have a productive dialogue and to do that we need to have an agenda so we can prepare our experts,” Williams said.

Deputy Superintendent Ned Waterhouse said that they had received no updates to the application in time for the meeting.

The first meeting, held Nov. 7 at Briar Woods High School, began an hour and fifteen minutes before a briefing and attendance zone public hearing at the Loudoun County Public Schools.


I happened to be at a School Bd. meeting tonight when this topic came up. One speaker made reference to the fact that the petitioners have had ample opportunity to present their case but those opposed were limited to three min. each. He asked for the opportunity to present a 15-30 min. presentation which seemed reasonable. At upwards of 8 Million a YEAR, that seems like a GOOD idea!

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