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Charter plans to appeal closure decision

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — La Resolana Leadership Academy will appeal Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education’s decision not to renew its charter.

Rob Leming, La Resolana Governing Council president, told the Journal that the charter school is consulting an attorney to begin the appeal process.

The APS board voted 4-3 Monday to close the school, effective July 1.

“I am very disappointed with the decision,” he said.

But the governing council president also called it hypocritical.

He pointed to three schools in the district labeled by the state as in need of more rigorous intervention due to chronic F school grades. He asked why Whittier Elementary School, for instance, has received district backing after six consecutive F grades, and felt La Resolana wasn’t given the same support.

APS Board of Education President David Peercy said the district has given more support to the school than required.

“La Resolana can certainly appeal to the PED secretary designate. That is … their right. It has nothing to do with our MRI schools and the planned APS support for those schools – which is our responsibility,” he said in an email to the Journal.

He also noted that how APS resolves issues with schools in the district is a different process from charter schools.

Leming said La Resolana faces similar challenges to the MRI schools and yet earned higher school grades than those schools. “The hypocrisy of the decision is astounding,” Leming said.

La Resolana was a D school in the 2016-17 school year.

Leming also highlighted that the corrective action plan to improve the school was made in conjunction with APS staff.

“How is it that an APS-developed plan for us did not meet their standards?” he asked. “Again, the hypocrisy becomes clear.”

La Resolana has 30 days to appeal to the PED. After that, there will be a public hearing and the PED secretary-designate will review APS’ decision and document his own findings.

The APS Office of Innovation and School Choice found La Resolana had “several violations of federal and state law regarding special education compliance” during a visit this year. The office also found problems with data reporting and noted the special education coordinator wasn’t a certified special education teacher.

Leming said steps were in place to bring in new leadership at the school and hire more special education teachers.

The school was also previously under scrutiny for a roughly $200,000 debt. But in February 2017, the board voted to approve a one-year contract.

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