Valley charter schools revisiting decisions

Posted at 9:20 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 04:47:49-04

After an ABC15 investigation, the boards of several Valley charter schools will revisit prior decisions.

The boards, which govern schools in Mesa and Show Low, fall under the umbrella of Edkey, a Mesa non-profit.

ABCC15 asked last week whether the schools had been posting online the agendas and notices regarding their meetings, which is required under state open meetings law.

At those prior meetings, Mesa's Pathfinder Academy board voted to open a new school, Show Low's Sequoia Village School board voted to boost an enrollment cap, and Mesa's Sequoia Charter School board voted to update budget numbers.

Edkey CEO Mark Plitzuweit said the schools failed to post the notices and agendas due to a January change in personnel.

In order to ratify the prior decisions, the boards will meet again Thursday to re-vote on the issues, after posting notices and agendas to their website earlier this week.

Edkey received more than $31 million in taxpayer money in 2013, according to an Edkey tax filing.

In another development, on Wednesday, ABC15 was granted access to an Edkey non-profit board meeting.

After ABC15 was denied access to an October meeting, no Edkey corporate board meeting agendas appeared on the non-profit's website for seven months.

Wednesday's board meeting was advertised; the board discussed enrollment projections, building needs, and how a May statewide vote on education funding could affect teacher pay raises.

The meeting was the first time ABC15 had access to an Edkey meeting after the Charter operator experienced twin controversies its schools last year.

A high school math teacher and coach at Mesa's Sequoia Charter School was accused in July of having sex with a student.

The teacher, Sheron Butler, pleaded guilty last week.

Prosecutors this month charged the principal at the high school, Amy Fraser, with a felony for allegedly knowing about Butler's relationship and not reporting it, a requirement under state law.

Plitzuweit, the Edkey CEO, declined to comment Wednesday on the charge against Fraser.

A phone number for Fraser was not immediately available; she is due in court later this month.