Charter commission chair apologizes — but charter leaders weren’t there to hear it

The chairman of the embattled state Public Charter School Commission came to Jerome Wednesday on an apology tour — but leaders from a local charter school didn’t come to hear it.

Instead, commission Chairman Alan Reed wound up meeting with Jerome Mayor David Davis, City Administrator Mike Williams, Jerome School District Superintendent Dale Layne and state Rep. Laurie Lickley, R-Jerome, the Twin Falls Times-News reported Thursday.

Lickley said she was hoping to arrange a mediation between Reed and Heritage Academy. “I wanted to bring it together outside the court of public opinion,” Lickley told Ryan Blake of the Times-News.

But Heritage officials declined to attend the meeting, and will communicate only through their attorneys, the Times-News reported.

The flashpoint between the charter commission and Heritage dates back to April. During a closed-door meeting, commission members decried low test scores at Heritage, criticized Heritage administrator Christine Ivie and made disparaging remarks about both the school and the community. At one point, Reed expressed regret that Heritage remains open.

The commission inadvertently released audio from the meeting in June. On Thursday, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office said the two-hour meeting probably violated Idaho’s open meeting law.

While Heritage officials were a no-show for Wednesday’s meeting, Layne said Reed offered a genuine apology.

“I thought we had a very positive and productive conversation, and I appreciate him for coming down to meet with us,” he told Blake.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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