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West Virginia Academy among schools affected by latest charter school ruling

MORGANTOWN — An injunction by a Kanawah County judge blocking charter school approval could affect the way West Virginia Academy opens in Fall 2022.

John Treu, West Virginia Academy president, said the ruling is not insignificant but it doesn’t stop them from doing what they have planned.

“We’re still planning to open next fall, irrespective,” Treu said Tuesday. “So, it wouldn’t prevent us from opening because we can open as a nonprofit Hope Scholarship school. But yeah, it looks like it may likely affect us.”

The injunction blocks the implementation of charter schools.

As reported by WVMetroNews Monday, the lawsuit is about whether charter schools can be authorized through the Professional Charter Schools Board. The governor appoints board members who are then confirmed by the state Senate and the public does not get a vote.

Gov. Jim Justice appointed five board members in July. In November, the board approved three charter schools, including West Virginia Academy, which has a primary recruitment area in parts of Monongalia and Preston counties.

Treu said he wouldn’t be surprised if the state Supreme Court stays the injunction and eventually overrules it. 

“The injunction essentially ignores over 100 years of precedent and just provides an entirely new interpretation of the Constitution,” Treu said. “And so usually, if you’re going to overrule legal precedent, you don’t usually issue an injunction before the case is even decided. … So, we don’t think the case is meritorious. We think it’ll ultimately go in favor of the charter schools. But in the meantime, it’s just how much hassle or delay would this cause”

The speed at which the Supreme Court takes up the case will be important and Treu said he’s hopeful it moves quickly. 

If the school is to open as a charter school in Fall 2022, rather than as a Hope Scholarship nonprofit, a decision will need to be made by February, Treu said.

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