Charleston, WV - West Virginia Academy filed a legal action today in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia against the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) seeking redress for the department's failure to authorize its charter. The basis of the lawsuit is that the charter school's application was approved by operation of law when, among other things, the school boards in Monongalia and Preston counties declined to ever meet together to take any official action as a combined body on the application. The WVDE refused to authorize the school as required under the law once the deadlines had passed for action by the boards, which granted automatic approval of West Virginia Academy's charter.
"We are confident that the law is on our side with respect to our charter approval and we are hopeful that the legal action will proceed expeditiously so that we can return our focus exclusively to building a great school for our community," John Treu, President of West Virginia Academy stated. West Virginia Academy would be the first charter school authorized in the state of West Virginia, the first Core Knowledge school, and the first International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in the state. It's curriculum and expectations would be rigorous in order to provide an option in public education that better prepares students for higher education following graduation. "While it is extremely regrettable that the West Virginia Department of Education refuses to follow the law and acknowledge our charter approval, we recognize that being the first to do something that is new, no matter how noble the intent, will often be met with resistance by entrenched special interests," Mr. Treu said.
Documents filed in court on Thursday indicate that the local boards engaged in a disjointed and unfair review process by skipping critical steps, conducting most of the process in secret rather than in public, and intentionally refusing to work together as required under the law. Neither of the independent processes conducted by the county school boards complied with the legal requirements to give the charter school a fair review. The WVDE was not only aware of these procedural failures, but was actually complicit in directing the unfair processes. The charter school is seeking immediate emergency relief from the West Virginia Supreme Court so that it's approval that was granted by operation of law is upheld.