For over an hour, charter school parents and students, sometimes in tears, pleaded with members of the Ashland School Board not to discontinue their schools for a second time.
The board, which had voted unanimously in closed session at their May 20 meeting to close the Lake Superior High School and the middle school Oredocker Project School, decided to rescind that vote after The Daily Press filed a complaint with Ashland County District Attorney David Meany that the vote violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law. Meany said last Friday that the district had not complied with the law, leading to the action to rescind the closed session vote.
School Board President Jessica Pergolski apologized for the initial vote, saying that the board needed to be more open in its actions.
“We let you down and we apologize,” she said.
The pleas of parents and students that the schools had made great differences to the students enrolled in the charter schools were received sympathetically by board members, but after voting to rescind the old vote, they immediately followed with a vote in open session to once again terminate the high school and middle school charter school programs.
This time one board member, Shelly Viater, voted against the closures. She said she wanted some guarantees that the unique project school structure would be kept intact in the proposed “school within a school” replacement for the charter schools.
The board did agree to continue the Lake Superior Learning Center, the charter school for elementary school students. The learning center still has four years left to run on its contract and is not affected by the changes.