Two things of interest to Alabama education happened on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016

The one that got all the attention was the first meeting of the legislative committee put together by Senators Gerald Dial and Quinton Ross trying to figure out how the selection of a new state superintendent that year ran off the tracks.

The second was the routine execution of a contract between the state and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.  Then superintendent Mike Sentence signed the contract for $41,000.  It was to be paid for 100 percent from state funds and run until Sept. 20, 2018.

The last paragraph on the paperwork begins, “Why Contract Necessary AND why this Service cannot be performed by Merit Employee.  It then explains: “This is the inaugural year of implementation of the Charter Schools law.  The State of Alabama has numerous legal obligations under the Act, including the requirement to review charter applications for legal compliance and best practices pursuant to state and administrative rules.  NACSA is specifically referenced in the Alabama Administrative Code, recognized as sole-source provider of these services.”

So as of Nov. 3, 2016 the state department of education is paying NACSA thousands of dollars to review charter school applications and pass judgment on them.  After all, they are the experts so why not?

Except, as we have learned in the last few days, the state charter school commission ignored the recommendations of NACSA in approving an application for LEAD Academy in Montgomery at their Feb. 12, 2018 meeting.  See here and here.

Why?  No one is saying.

After all, the NACSA report,  which is posted on the department of education’s web site, is very clear that there are way too many shortcomings in the application to get their blessing.  So taxpayers are paying for reports that are not being used.  Who is minding the store?  Anyone?

Charlotte Meadows, a former Montgomery County school board member, is heading the effort for LEAD Academy.  Originally she had plans  to purchase a building in downtown Montgomery from the chamber of commerce to house the school.  However, it was announced this week that this deal fell through.

However, state interim superintendent Ed Richardson has announced that under the authority granted him by the state taking over the Montgomery school system, he plans to close four schools.  One of these is Dozier elementary which sits on a prime piece of property in the eastern part of town.  The system spent several million dollars a few years ago in an extensive renovation of this school.

Charlotte Meadows has already visited this school to take pictures and look around.

Stay tuned.