Sparks charter school ordered not to remove records
RENO — A judge has issued a temporary restraining order barring a closed Sparks charter school and its president from moving student records.
Friday’s order by Washoe District Judge James Hardesty comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the Washoe County School District against the Nevada Leadership Academy and its board president, Luther Dupree.
The suit asks that they return student records to the district.
Hardesty has scheduled a Monday hearing on whether to order the Washoe County sheriff to seize student records from the academy.
The district school board revoked the academy’s charter Dec. 3, citing a host of deficiencies such as dishonored checks, failure to make payroll and discrepancies between what employees were paid versus what was recorded.
The district board also ordered the school to return student records and close Dec. 20. But the school has refused to turn over records and urged students to return after winter break.
School district spokesman Steve Mulvenon praised Hardesty’s order.
The school district maintains the academy has no legal right to keep records, spend public dollars or conduct classes without a charter.
“We didn’t ask him to do that, but it’s a good precautionary step on his part …,” Mulvenon told a Reno newspaper.
He disagreed with Dupree’s contention that the school can keep the records, saying the district is the custodian of records.
“N.L.A. no longer exists. They have no charter,” Mulvenon said.
But DuPree said the district hasn’t gone through proper channels to retrieve the records. He said schools should contact the academy for records of former academy students.
“We won’t turn over the records until they go through the proper authority,” DuPree said.
George Mason, a California consultant for parents of academy pupils, said the academy shouldn’t abide by the request because doing so would violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
Mulvenon said the act prohibits schools and school districts from releasing student records to a third party without consent, but the district isn’t a third party.