The Alabama Education Association filed suit against Woodland Prep and their education “consultant” Soner Tarim in Washington County Circuit Court on Aug. 2. The suit charges that both the charter board and Tarim have committed fraud through the use of both documents and data that can not be verified and were used without permission.
Some of this included false info about the performance of Washington County public schools, about the level of local opposition and about the application which was turned down by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.
The association has now put up a web site (stopwoodlandprep.com) where anyone can view documents pertaining to the case, including the suit itself, can be seen.
It is especially insightful to look at “Woodland Prep Application Part 2.” Scroll though the many, many pages until you come to page 562 about support letters. There are 17 of them. Four of them are unsigned. If someone is truly in favor of something, would they not sign their support letter? One of these is from Jessica Ross, who runs the library in Chatom and was also listed as a Woodland Prep board member, though she disputes that she ever agreed to this.
Another is from Betsy Easterbrook, which never mentions Woodland Prep or even charter schools. One is from business owner Angie Thornton who has stated adamantly said that once she found out more detail of what Woodland Prep was all about she asked that her letter not be used.
Another is from Robert Giordano, who is with American Charter Development out of Springville, Utah. the company building the school. This is like a car dealer writing a letter to the bank telling them to lend me money so I can buy a car from them. Still another is from Mel Ann Sullivan, who lead the charge for Woodland Prep and worked for the Washington County Economic Development Initiative This is on development authority letterhead, though the group’s board did not support Woodland Prep and had instructed Ms. Sullivan that she should keep arm’s distance from the charter effort.
Then county commissioner Mark Platt also submitted a letter. However, he did so after being told the charter would be located in the McIntosh community–not 30 miles away between Chatom and Millry and that it would have no impact on the public school system. Both of which were not true.
You can go to page 584 and find where Dr. Sarah Odom, an education consultant in the county is listed as an “advisory team” member, something she staunchly says was never the case. Even her resume’ is listed in its entirety.
Yet, the state charter commission ignored all of this. They did not do proper due diligence. It’s hardly any wonder that four members of this commission have just been replaced. .