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Deadline looms for charter school

Also, Mon BOE addresses  spat of COVID cases

Will this Friday (the 13th) prove unlucky for Monongalia County’s first proposed charter school?

Or, will it go the other way for West Virginia Academy Ltd.?

Answers to both will start emerging at 4 p.m. that day, Monongalia Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. told Board of Education members Tuesday night.

Friday is the deadline for the academy’s board of directors to respond to Mon and Preston County Schools concerning any deficiencies in the application.

While Mon Schools is taking the lead in the review process, the neighboring district is also included — since students just over the county line in Bruceton Mills are also allowed to attend University High.

The academy last week notified both istricts by letter that its application, by statute, was already conditionally approved.

That’s since neither  district, the academy contends, responded within 90 days of its July 24 application, as mandated by state code.

Said application was also submitted to the state Department of Education for its word, one way or the other.

With the deadline still in dispute, though, Campbell said he received a late-evening email Monday from John Treu, the WVU accounting professor and president of the proposed school’s board of directors.

Campbell said Treu told him that the academy would still address those deficiencies in good faith.

Mon’s BOE, in the meantime, will meet in special session to approve — or not approve — based on Campbell’s recommendation.

No action can be taken until then, board president Nancy Walker stressed.

In the meantime, of the five letters from the community she read for the record concerning the charter school, four were against the idea — saying the local district is already going beyond the mission mapped out by the academy.

Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico said the district is ready to start going beyond deficiencies it has shown in the delivery of remote learning.

“We’re not there yet,” she said. “We know we have a lot to work on.” 

Surveys will go out in coming days to parents and students addressing the topic, she said.

COVID-19 remained the 800-pound topic for the board Tuesday night, after a recent spate of positive cases in the school district, resulting in multiple quarantines.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, and the gatherings of family and friends both holidays bring, Campbell reiterated that the district is keeping its hybrid-learning mix of in-person and remote learning through Jan. 20.

Board member Sara Anderson noted the discrepancies between the state’s COVID-alert maps and the Harvard model it drew from, saying, at the very least, school administrators should hold meetings via Zoom, as a matter of course.

Ron Lytle, who most recently served as BOE president, agreed with his colleague, and added that common sense should be the rule, both for schools and the community.

Practice social distancing and mask-wearing, no matter what, he stressed.

“And get tested.”