Charter parents, watch out for kids’ future
For those of you who have ever had your child in a charter school, you understand the teaching that goes on, the relationship that is formed, and the quality school you can achieve. On Feb. 5, that was taken away from the 106 students at Vantage Point Charter School, when the Ready Springs School Board took over our school and removed the director and charter council. Their supposed reason was a FCMAT report that alleged an inaccuracy in reporting the attendance for the home-school and fiscal mismanagement. The sad thing in all of this is that if the board members or the district superintendent, Merrill Grant, really cared, a simple telephone call to the state would have cleared up this misunderstanding. If they had bothered to call, they would have found out that there are three different ways to track and report the home-school attendance. Further, the Ready Springs School District reports the attendance, thus it was their responsibility to ensure that the attendance was properly reported. Their mismanagement was directly responsible for these alleged inaccuracies. If they had simply inquired about the attendance, the charter staff could have explained it to them. If the district understood the charter laws, they would also know that if a school has made a reporting error, they have two years to amend the attendance reports. If the district really believed the home-school attendance reporting procedures were wrong, then why would Mr. Grant tell the remaining charter staff a few days after taking over our school to keep doing them the same way?
We the parents of Vantage Point are very concerned and confused that none of these facts were made available to the public. The board acted without even waiting for all of the facts to come out. The FCMAT report was a preliminary report. Further, FCMAT’s job is to review the records of a school and report their findings to the county superintendent of schools and the district superintendent. They have no power to take action if they find discrepancies. As for fiscal mismanagement, in our current year budget, our income exceeded our expenditures by more than $50,000. Plus, at the request of the District, we had a $28,000 (5 percent of our budget) cash reserve set aside in case of emergencies. There was no mismanagement on the part of Vantage Point’s director or the charter council.
Terry McAteer, shame on you for using our children at Vantage Point, a school that was making a needed change in the educational field in the Penn Valley community, to bail out one of your struggling districts that can’t do their job and has declining enrollment. Board members of Ready Springs School District, wake up and take your blinders off, because you were not doing your job for any one of those 106 students at Vantage Point Charter School. Get the facts, because someone is not telling you the truth, nor are you willing to see it. There is a lot more that I could tell you, but we all know what you apparently do not – you were used as a pawn by Terry McAteer. Furthermore, why, on Tuesday, March 5, would the board feel the need to write a letter in the opinion column of The Union recognizing only the Ready Springs campus? What makes the board continuously sabotage a new beginning with the relationship of Vantage Point? Why would you think you have to defend anything that goes on at Ready Springs School? Are you insecure and unsure in your decisions regarding the school? It would have been a wonderful opportunity for the board to let the community know that they were looking forward to a new relationship with the families from Vantage Point and that their dedication to this community and the children are the utmost concern. That by working together we can continue to develop both a charter and a public school in Penn Valley. The person who initiated that letter should be removed from the board, or Terry, was it you? In closing, I do not believe the Ready Springs School Board or Merrill Grant can continue to maintain the philosophy and spirit of Vantage Point going without its director or charter council.
Lori Grothe of Penn Valley is a former charter council member.
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