Part of the sideshow conducted by the state charter commission on May 28 about whether or not to revoke the charter for Woodland Prep charter in Washington County was the chance for the school to impress commission members with all the expertise they have assembled to work on the school.

This is why someone named Angela K. Hansen was introduced via telephone midway through the afternoon.  Seems that she was just appointed to the Woodland Prep board.  No one on the commission knew her, but this was no surprise since she lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and admitted that she has never been to Washington County.

The Woodland Prep site and building is owned by American Charter Development of Utah.  Hansen has a close relationship with ACD charters in Utah and North Carolina and this is obviously why she was nominated.  (It is highly unlikely that other Woodland Prep board members had any relationship with someone 1,900 miles away who had never been to their county.)

The financial sitaution of Woodland Prep has been a major issue from the get go.  It was discussed at length at the May 28 hearing.  According to Hansen, she was brought on board because of her expertise and experience in school financing and ability to get schools on sound financial footing.

HOWEVER,

Hansen failed to tell the commission that she has just been declared bankrupt by the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Salt Lake City.  Go here  to see documentation.

Really now?   And we’re gonna hire the town drunk to be the new preacher at the first Baptist church?

This was basically the tone of the entire hearing.  People in Washington County are so uneducated and backward that we anything we say about them will be believed.

You had to hear it to believe it.

Subcontractors have been bullied and threatened and left the job.  But no one has any documentation.  Locals have made endless requests to get public records and this has somehow hampered the school from opening..  (Charter schools are public schools and their records are supposed to be public and it is perfectly legal to make such requests.)

Retired public school superintendent Joe Walters has been hired to be the school “leader.”  When he was asked what is the major obstacle the school has in order to open in August, he said, “No one has any experience in charter schools.”  When asked when the school building will be ready, Walters said, “All I have to go on is hearsay and guesswork.”

Time after time the Woodland Prep attorney asked his witnesses how many students will the school have.  No one had an answer.   Just vague references to “people are scared to sign up their kids,” or, “Probably 25 people in other counties say they will send their kids there.”

The only concrete number ever mentioned was 117.

Andy Craig is deputy state superintendent of education for the state.  School finances are his specialty.  He testified that it will be virtually impossible to run a viable school with only 117 students.

This circus has gone on for two years now.  Delay after delary.  Excuse after escuse.  Always the other guy’s fault.

There are TWO billion acres in the continental United States.  And out of all of them, some folks in Utah and Houston decided they would build an unwanted school on 10 of them in the middle of nowhere in south Alabama.  In an area that, like rural  places across this country, are drying up and blowing away.

And these rednecks, ate up with racism and hate and meanness and prejudice and generation of clannishness, don’t love us.  They don’t trust our endless tall tails,  They don’t believe our hearts are pure.

And guess what?  Neither do I.

(The next installment of this ugly episode is supposed to unfold on June 9 when the charter commission will vote whether or not to revoke the Woodland Prep charter.)