Judge allows Montgomery’s first charter school to continue prepping for fall classes amid lawsuit
The Circuit Court of Montgomery has allowed LEAD Academy to continue recruiting teachers and students as it awaits an April 30 hearing which will determine the validity of its charter, as authorized by the Alabama Public Charter School Commission.
Earlier this month, the Alabama Education Association filed suit challenging the commission’s authorization of LEAD Academy, Montgomery’s first public charter school, alleging flaws in the authorization process.
The court issued an order yesterday allowing LEAD Academy to continue many of its efforts in preparing for the 2018-2019 school year, as long as no public money is used.
The order allows the LEAD Education Foundation to “advertise, recruit, and solicit applications for filling any and all staff positions for LEAD Academy; provided, however, that no contracts of employment for LEAD Academy may be entered into, and no public funds obligated or expended for these activities,” until the court makes its ruling.
LEAD may also recruit and register students to begin classes this fall – although they may not be enrolled – and it may purchase, negotiate, or contract with private entities for the Academy’s facilities, as long as no public building is purchased and no public funds are used.
“There’s a ton of stuff to be done before school starts in August,” Charlotte Meadows, President of LEAD Academy, told Yellowhammer News. “Some of it we can be working on between now and April 30 and some of it we can’t. Anything we do, in the long run, requires public funds.”
LEAD Academy is set to open in August, but Theron Stokes, associate director of the Alabama Education Association, has already entertained the idea of appeal, if the court rules in LEAD’s favor.
“If the court finds that it is a proper charter school and it has been properly approved, we may disagree and we may appeal it but we will always recognize the law,” Stokes said earlier this month, according to Alabama News.
Meadows expressed her frustration with AEA, suggesting that its goal is to obstruct the process.
“Honestly, I think their goal really was just to slow it down,” she said. “And the longer they can slow it down then the less likely – I mean I don’t know if they think we’re likely to throw up our hands and give up or just that we’ll get tired of going through the lawsuits.”