Saturday, February 27, 2010
'Power Struggle' for Records
By Andrea Schoellkopf
Journal Staff Writer
The founder of three charter schools said Friday that he initially refused to give financial records to the Albuquerque school district because of a "power struggle" over authority.
"What can APS require and what do we have to provide?" Scott Glasrud told the Journal after meeting with state Education Secretary Veronica Garcia and Albuquerque Public Schools officials.
Glasrud is director of Southwest Primary, La Luz Del Monte and Southwest Secondary Learning Center. APS Superintendent Winston Brooks this week threatened to close those three schools, along with Amy Biehl Charter School. The schools, which all have track records of high test scores and stable finances, had refused to provide APS with monthly bank statements.
Glasrud and Amy Biehl director Mike May said they initially refused the request because APS officials did not say why they wanted the information. But they relented and turned the records over on Wednesday.
"We recognize our responsibility to provide information," Glasrud said.
May said the dispute with APS is due to of a lack of communication.
Charters are authorized by the district or the state but operate independently.
Brooks said he felt the dispute ended when the schools provided the financial records and said he didn't understand the purpose of Friday's meeting. Garcia had called the meeting before the schools released the information.
Garcias told APS to meet again with the four charters within the month.
APS board president Marty Esquivel said he's still unclear about what the district's powers are when a charter has financial problems. "Do we have authority to manage the operations of the charter schools?" he asked.
Garcia said no.
"They (districts) don't have the power to fix things," Garcia said. "They do have the power of oversight to request" information.
A district can recommend sanctions against a charter, with a time frame to correct any problems and can ultimately ask the school board to revoke the school's charter, Garcia said.