Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
September 11, 2012
KINGS VALLEY -- Middle ground appears to be getting tougher to come by in the legal dispute between Kings Valley Charter School and Philomath School District.
In a Sept. 7 proposal to KVCS regarding the charter termination notice and lawsuit, PSD reiterated its demand that the charter school end its third-party setup for teaching services.
"They didn't move to the center like we had hoped, so we're kind of at a reset," said Mark Hazelton, KVCS director.
Philomath issued a notice of intent on July 30 to close the school on Sept. 28 because of charter violations -- namely, the educational service contract with the nonprofit People Sustaining Kings Valley (PSKV). KVCS has opined the arrangement is legal and cited an opinion on the matter by Oregon's attorney general.
KVCS has said PSD is retaliating over a lawsuit it's filed against the district seeking $179,000 in rural school funding it believes it is owed.
Morgan Smith, PSD's legal counsel, wrote in last week's response that PSKV is an "independent contractor" and that the language of its contract with the charter school shows there's no control by KVCS -- or PSD -- of hiring, selecting, or disciplining the nonprofit's employees.
Because the school's teachers are PSKV employees, the organization largely develops and implements curriculum with "minimal oversight" by KVCS, Smith said.
Hazelton said the KVCS board believes "we have a strong case" for keeping the PSKV setup if a third-party review of the contract happens.
The potential sale of the school to KVCS has been shelved to help simplify negotiations, Smith said in the proposal.
Philomath did offer all funding for the school -- except the remote school funding -- remain at current contracted rates, rather than the previous 80 percent/20 percent split in KVCS's favor. The rural school dollars would be shared equally.
"That still just equates to 80 percent of the funds," Hazelton countered.
The charter school had its first official day of school on Monday. The KVCS board of directors was scheduled to discuss a response to the proposal after press time on Tuesday.