Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
July 31, 2012
KINGS VALLEY -- Kings Valley Charter School is suddenly fighting for its very life.
The rural school in northern Benton County that draws about 65 percent of its enrollment from Polk County received notice Monday from the Philomath School District (PSD) of its intention to close KVCS in 60 days.
Representatives of Kings Valley Charter School believe the action is an attempt to have KVCS drop a lawsuit against the district seeking rural school funding that it says it is entitled to. In the 2011-12 school year, the school sought about $176,000, according to KVCS officials.
"This is a vindictive and petty act of retribution," said Diana Barnhart, a KVCS board member. "The Philomath School District is acting like a playground bully."
A press conference and community rally were scheduled Tuesday night after the Itemizer-Observer went to press.
The notice claims KVCS is breaching its charter by using a second-party contractor to provide services without the district's approval.
"It is the understanding of the District that KVCS has outsourced all or substantially all administrative and teaching services to another entity that is not a party to the charter agreement," the notice read.
However, Mark Hazelton, director of KVCS, said Philomath Superintendent Dan Forbess was made aware of the contract and verbally approved it in a meeting with him and KVCS board members Beth Hoinacki and Barnhart in May 2011.
Hazelton said the second-party contract was never brought up as an issue, until the notice was sent Monday.
Forbess was attending a conference in Eugene Tuesday morning at press time and was unavailable for comment.
KVCS is expected to have an enrollment of 182 when the 2012-13 school year opens. The school employs 36 people.