The Ardmore City Schools Board of Education has rejected a proposed charter school, Ardmore Community Academy, citing questions about funding, transportation and support within the community they said the charter’s application failed to sufficiently answer.
The board held a special meeting Sept. 1 to make their final decision - ACS school board Vice President Harvey Spring was not present. ACS Superintendent Kim Holland began the meeting by recommending the board reject the application.
“Co-curricular or extracurricular programs do not have identified funding sources,” Holland said. “Start-up and five-year budgets do not seem reasonable, first-year cash flow projections do not seem reasonable.”
The district’s legal counsel, Doug Mann, and charter school specialist Mark Modercin, who helped the board analyze the charter’s application and make their final decision, also attended. Mann cited Section 3-134 of Title 70, a law establishing 35 items charter school applications must address, including details about the school’s curriculum and finances, among other things.
“It does not identity a person who has demonstrated experience in school finance or the equivalent thereof,” Mann said. “That’s not something the superintendent or Mr. Modercin or I pulled out of the air as a concern, it’s because Item 3 requires that there be a description of a treasurer or other officer who shall have primary responsibility of the finances of the charter school. That has not happened.”
Mann said the proposal also did not outline a curriculum that could align with the state curriculum and didn’t fully address how it would transport students to and from school.
“All of these concerns were the committee’s unanimous agreement that these were either defects … or substantial concerns,” Mann said. “I could go through all of these bullet points but all of these bullet points ties to a requirement that it be dealt with in the application.”
As of the vote, ACA has 30 days to rework and re-submit their application. Stidham said he and his team plan to seek more community support as they try to fix the gaps in their proposal.   
“I’ve read over their concerns and we’re going to make sure to take steps forward to resolve those concerns,” Stidham said. “This process has been about connecting with the community, so we’re going to get back out there and make sure to include as many voices as we can to address the needs of our community.”