Board Poised to Revoke Indiana Virtual Charters by End of September
- By Dian Schaffhauser
The Indiana school district that authorized charters for two wayward virtual schools have begun the process of revoking those charters. Daleville Community Schools took the action during a special session tonight.
This week, unexpectedly, Indiana Virtual School (IVS) and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy (IVPA) discontinued operations, laying off staff and leaving students and their families in the lurch regarding assignments, grades and status. Phone numbers for both schools lead to voicemail systems that are full and unable to accept new messages.
IVS was scheduled to close no later than September 30, 2019; and IVPA was expected to close at the end of the next school year, before June 30, 2020.
The Daleville district made the decision to revoke the charters for both schools, referencing "a lack of cooperation in following closure protocol and a dereliction of responsibility," according to a statement issued by the board of trustees. Final action on the revocation won't take place for another 30 days. If the action goes through, the board said, both schools will be shuttered by the end of September 2019.
"We fully expect and demand that IVS and IVPA will fulfill all their legal, contractual, professional and moral obligations until date of closure, whatever the vote may be tonight — especially as related to the students," said Daleville Superintendent Paul Garrison. "The utter lack of communication with students and parents, miscommunication and failure to adequately provide student services that we have seen over the course of the past week is simply unacceptable. While we expect IVS and IVPA to fulfill all their obligations, student and educational services MUST take top priority and must be done with the highest level of care and professionalism. IVS and IVPA let their students down. There are many things that led us to this place, but that has been the most disappointing failure of them all."
Garrison noted that the "unprecedented situation" will require "a team effort" by district people, state agencies and the troubled virtual schools themselves. And while he added that he still believes in "the need for online education," he said he doesn't believe the problems Daleville now faces are tied to that mode of education: "We also believe in integrity, in honesty and in serving students to the best of our ability."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.