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October 03, 2012
KINGS VALLEY -- The funding dispute between Kings Valley Charter School (KVCS) and the Philomath School District (PSD) will have its day in court.
KVCS filed a lawsuit on July 9 seeking about $179,000 in remote elementary school funds it believes the district should have provided. The charter school bases its case on recent changes in state law it believes qualify the school to receive all the funding -- about $300,000 in the 2011-12 school year. KVCS was only given a portion of it and filed the lawsuit to obtain the remainder.
In response, PSD filed a motion to dismiss the case, which a Benton County Circuit Court judge denied at a hearing Friday.
Eager to resolve the issue, KVCS director Mark Hazelton said the charter school -- and the district -- had wanted the judge to interpret the law and administrative rules addressing how much of the funding the charter school is entitled to.
Alas, that didn't happen Friday.
In fact, the judge ordered the two sides to prepare their own arguments for how the money should be split and set another hearing date for Dec. 2.
In the meantime, the district and KVCS will continue to try to negotiate a compromise, Hazelton said.
The funding issue is only one part of what the district and charter school are seeking to work out.
The two sides have agreed to go into mediation regarding the charter school's contract with People Sustaining Kings Valley, a nonprofit that provides most of the school's staff.
Originally, the district was trying to arrange for the Oregon Department of Education to mediate, however that has since fallen through, Hazelton said. The district is now looking for another mediator. But that may be too late to resolve the issue before KVCS is slated to appear before the Philomath School District Board in a public hearing Monday on the matter.
"We were hoping to get mediation done before that meeting, but it's not looking like it will (happen)," Hazelton said.
The KVCS board met Monday to discuss Friday's hearing and prepare for Monday's upcoming hearing before the PSD board.