State revokes I.F. school’s charter

(UPDATED, 9:18 a.m. Thursday, with comments from school officials.)

Leaders of an Idaho Falls charter school will meet Thursday night to discuss their next move, a day after a state commission voted to revoke the school’s charter.

“We have about 100 students whose lives just got turned upside down,” said Carrie Reynolds, board chairman for Odyssey Charter School.

The state’s Public Charter School Commission voted Wednesday to revoke Odyssey’s charter, saying the saying the school has failed to make adequate progress on seeking accreditation. The revocation goes into effect Friday.

The idea of the 48-hour window is to give parents some time to transfer their children into new schools, and to give staff time to debrief students and staff. The delay also allows school officials to weigh their options — which could range from seeking an injunction to shutting down the school.

But if the school does shut down, some students may face challenges as they try to transfer. The Idaho Falls School District will accept some credits from Odyssey — but only as electives, and only if students received a “B” or better in the classes. The Bonneville School District does not plan to recognize credits from the fledgling school.

Public school districts are not obligated to accept credits from non-accredited schools such as Odyssey.

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Odyssey has been beset by a range of problems — including inadequate record-keeping and high student turnover. The school opened its doors in 2013-14 to nearly 200 sixth- through 10th-graders.

In a news release, Reynolds said the commission seemed interested only in past mistakes made by past school leaders. “This is a tragic day for our community, our families, staff, and most importantly our students. While past mistakes were made by people no longer involved with the school, we were hoping the commissioners would recognize the herculean efforts we have made in the last three months to do what was not done in the past.”

Wednesday’s commission vote was not altogether unexpected. The commission filed a “notice of intent” in June, saying the school’s accreditation was in jeopardy.

 

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