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Oklahoma's statewide virtual charter school board begins work

The board of Oklahoma's statewide virtual charter school met for the first time March 18. The school's sponsoring board is the Oklahoma Department of Education.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: March 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013

The board responsible for the new statewide virtual charter school met for the first time Monday morning — just months before classes are set to begin.

After being hung up by a legal challenge, the school board has a chance to hear for the first time about all the decisions it will be making in the coming weeks.

The school board should submit its charter school application to its sponsoring board — the state Board of Education — by the end of April, said Kim Richey, general counsel for the state Education Department.

Contractors that will provide classes need to be found immediately if school is to start in the fall, she said.

“If it's our intention to get up and running by next year, we are working on a very short time frame,” Richey said.

The board has all kinds of particulars to decide, said Stephanie Moser-Goins, an assistant general counsel for the Education Department.

How will attendance be measured? What happens if a student's home has a power outage? How can students with disabilities be accommodated? What about students who are learning to speak English?

Sorting out the details will be time-consuming, but it is important work, said John Harrington, chairman of the school board.

“There's a great opportunity for our state to provide this resource to our communities, our families, our children,” Harrington said. “There's a lot of work that has to happen to get this up and running.”

Lawsuit caused delay

The school board has a narrow time frame because of a lawsuit involving the bill that created the school in the first place, said Richey, the general counsel.

The statewide virtual charter school was mandated by a bill authored last year by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa.

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