Charter commission investigating Ammon school

AMMON — The Idaho Public Charter School Commission is investigating a range of concerns and allegations brought against Ammon-based Monticello Montessori Charter School.

One complaint filed last month with the commission alleges that Monticello’s “board of directors may be receiving monetary benefits through contracts held by the school,” that the handling of a personnel matter by the school’s administrator recently “caused young children unnecessary emotional distress” and that school grievance concerns aren’t reaching trustees for review, according to a March 31 letter to the school from charter commission director Jenn Thompson.

Thompson confirmed an open investigation into issues at the school Monday, but would not give further details.

“I expect to issue a followup letter in the next week or so,” she told Idaho Education News.

Thompson’s letter doesn’t specify where the complaint originated, though she outlined the commission’s intent to probe the allegations and several other concerns uncovered in recent weeks, including:

  • The school’s failure to adequately file their annual report with the Idaho secretary of state’s office. As a result, it’s unclear if “any decisions made by the school’s board since January (2021) are valid,” Thompson wrote.
  • The existence of an in-house preschool without charter commission consent. “This means that the school’s liability insurance may not cover a claim involving students the school is not authorized to serve,” Thompson added.
  • A range of general operational concerns, including state reporting “accuracy and timeliness, compliance with transparency requirements, and cooperation with necessary investigations.”

Thompson requested a list of documents from the school, including meeting minutes that could reflect possible conflicts of interest between trustees and the school and monthly expense reports dating back to July.

“The (commission) is obligated to investigate the validity of the complaint and must determine whether a term of the school’s Performance Certificate has been violated or whether there is reason to believe a provision of law has been violated,” Thompson wrote.

Neither Monticello administrator Erica Kemery nor board chair Ken Glodo responded to a request for comment.

The charter commission’s seven-member board operates under the State Board of Education and oversees nearly three-fourths of Idaho’s 56 public charter schools.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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