School’s charter may get revoked | NevadaAppeal.com

School’s charter may get revoked

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com

Silver State Charter High School may lose its charter this week if the State Board of Education follows the recommendation made by the State Department of Education.

In a report submitted to Silver State’s governing body, the Department of Education notes six instances where the school failed to comply with state law, as well as several inconsistencies in its charter renewal application.

Tom McCormack, charter school consultant for the education department, said the board could follow the recommendation to revoke the charter, but it could also ignore the recommendation.

If the charter is revoked, the school will have 30 days to remedy the problems.

“If the state board goes along with the recommendation, the school will have the opportunity to respond to the deficiencies,” McCormack said. “If they respond adequately, they can have their charter renewed.”

The school’s executive director, Steve Knight, did not return phone calls to the school requesting comment Friday.

The department found that the charter school’s governing body “failed to maintain sufficient control of the operations of the school.”

The report points to the school’s purchase of a Ford F-350 pickup, which violated several Nevada statutes. According to the report, the purchase of the truck was not authorized by the governing board.

Also, the truck was purchased from Knight’s daughter-in-law, violating the statute that prohibits a local government from granting advantages to a relative.

It was also determined the school’s administration failed to compare prices and bid out the purchase of the truck.

“The department has determined the purchase of the 2006 Ford F-350 pickup truck to be an illegal and unethical purchase,” the report states.

The report also finds that the board disregarded the state statute that says an administrator of a charter school’s salary should not exceed that of the highest paid administrator in a comparable position in the school district without an audit.

The governing board at the March 3 meeting approved a $115,000 salary for Knight, along with a one-time settlement of $29,130 for his work over the summers since 2004.

Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes makes $126,000 annually.

Other discrepancies include the school’s claim that all the teachers there meet the “highly qualified” designation, when two of them do not, along with about a half-dozen others.

Silver State’s governing board called a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday to remedy the problems before Friday’s meeting of the State Board of Education.

On the agenda for the charter school’s governing board meeting are several policy and procedure changes, including those governing purchasing and ethical bylaws.

There is also an agenda item to reprimand Knight and former board president Edie Grub.

The Carson City School Board rejected Knight’s request for a charter in 2003. The state then granted the school its charter.

If the charter is revoked, McCormack said, it will be one few instances in the state.

“It’s very unusual to have a charter revoked,” he said. “It hasn’t happened very often in Nevada.”