Whistle-blower contradicts charter school

Evidence provided to The Blade appears to contradict public statements made this week by an online charter school that it withdraws all chronically truant students who have no legitimate excuse for being absent.

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) said this week an anonymous whistle-blower had sent lawmakers a list of hundreds of students who were designated as truant at Maumee-based Ohio Virtual Academy, yet had not been removed from its enrollment lists. Under state law, charter schools must withdraw students who miss 105 consecutive hours without a legitimate excuse. Not withdrawing those students would arbitrarily boost attendance figures, by which charter schools are paid in state funds.

School officials say the allegations are “totally and categorically false.” But both an email and audio recording provided to The Blade appears to show that OVA set a cutoff date of April 6 for truancy withdrawals, and that no students would be taken off their attendance rolls after that date, regardless of the reason.

The audio recording is of a conference call that appears to be led by Kathy Pine, instructional coordinator at the school. In the April 6 call, she tells staff members that the school would not be approving any truancy withdrawals after that day, so they needed to turn in their withdrawal requests. She followed up that call with an email to staff on April 21.

(Read more at the Blade)