AEA files lawsuit against Montgomery's first approved charter school

AEA files lawsuit against Montgomery's first approved charter school
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Education Association has filed a lawsuit against LEAD Academy, Montgomery's first approved charter school.

The five-count lawsuit names the members of the Alabama Public Charter School Commission, Ed Richardson and LEAD Education Foundation as defendants. The lawsuit states there was no legally effective vote of approval by the Charter School Commission when voting to form a Montgomery Charter School.

The lawsuit claims the school was not approved by a 5-1 vote on Feb. 13, making it unauthorized. The lawsuit says six affirmative votes were necessary for the approval of the school. It also alleges that a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education wasn't included in the process and LEAD Academy's application did not meet the criteria set out in the law authorizing schools.

AEA is seeking to prohibit any transfer of public funds or any other public property to LEAD Academy. AEA is also calling for LEAD Academy to cease being advertised as an authorized charter school.

Theron Stokes, AEA Associate Executive Director, said, "The law is clear that a majority of the Commission, six members, is required to authorize a charter school.  Only five members voted for LEAD Academy. It is likely that they could not get any more votes because of the weakness of the application, which the Commission's own expert said was deficient in multiple areas and should have been rejected."

Charlotte Meadows, LEAD Academy chairperson, released a statement about the lawsuit:

"I believe there to be many inaccuracies in their assumptions, and I hope the judge will uphold the law as written. We expect to move forward to start a charter school that will help the students in Montgomery this year. I believe that the AEA is choosing to put adults over the needs of children in Montgomery."

Meadows said the lawsuit makes claims that aren't true, including that she is friends with Ed Richardson and that the Charter School Commission has an 11-person requirement for votes. She said she has no personal connection with Richardson and the 11-person requirement is only for appeals.

Meadows also said LEAD Academy is not a part of MPS, which the lawsuit claims.

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