Attorneys for the Alabama Education Association filed suit in Circuit Count in Washington County August 2 alleging that Soner Tarim, the Texan with the management agreement with Woodland Prep, has submitted false information to the state charter school commission on behalf of Woodland Prep in his efforts to establish this charter school.
At the same time Tarim has been working with Woodland Prep he was also trying to get approval to open charters in Houston and Austin. The AEA court document refers a number of times to the fact that Tarim made statements to the Texas state board of education about Woodland Prep that were untrue.
Some of this included false info about the performance of Washington County public schools, about the level of opposition to Woodland Prep from the local community, about why the application he says he wrote for Woodland Prep did not meet standards of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, about school enrollment numbers, etc.
As we have been documenting here for months, Soner Tarim is a fraud.
Granted, he could sell Eskimo pies to Eskimos, but he does it with smoke and mirrors and ignores facts. And the fact that the members of the present Alabama charter school commission allowed themselves to fall under his spell, rather than doing their homework, is also shameful and even more reason members of this group should be replaced as soon as possible.
One of the more incredible pieces of this whole sordid mess is what Tarim told the good folks in Texas about his role in getting state approval for Woodland Prep. He told, without hesitation, a Texas board member that he wrote the Woodland Prep charter application. When the board member then asked why this application was rejected by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers Tarim said this group does not what it is doing. (I contacted NACSA and learned they have reviewed 500 applications from across the country in the last 10 years. Yet, according to Tarim, they don’t know what they are doing.)
Then, incredibly, he said that the Alabama charter commission did not know what they were doing either until he showed them how to grade an application. Alabama had used NACSA to grade applications since the charter law was passed in 2015. We paid them more than $100,000 for their service. Of course, Tarim has a ready-made answer for everything and it is ALWAYS the other guy’s fault.
Tesas has figured out who Tarim is. This is why on June 14 the Texas state school board denied Tarim’s request to open four charters in Austin. They have a long history with him because he opened his first charter in Houston in 2000.
As board member Georgina Perez told me in an interview after she voted against Tarim, all he deals in is “alternative facts.” The people in Washington County are well aware of this because time and time again he has cited “facts” about their public schools that are fiction–not facts.
Thankfully, AEA has stepped up to the plate.
But had the Alabama charter commission done their work, there would be no need for a law suit. They would have listened to the national reviewers in May, 2018 and rejected the Woodland Prep application. But they, and others, were mesmerized by Tarim and failed the people of Alabama and caused months of misery for Washington County.
It is one of the most shameful examples of failed government I have ever witnessed.