Last August the Alabama Education Association filed suit in Washington County alleging that Sonar Tarim, the Texas education consultant working with Woodland Prep charter school falsified information submitted to the state charter school commission.

The initial hearing on this suit is scheduled for Jan. 21 before Circuit Court Judge Gaines McCorquodale in Chatom.

But given the charter’s track record of evasion and misrepresentation of the facts, it came as no surprise when lawyers for Woodland Prep filed a last-minute motion to “dismiss, re-set the hearing, and seal the proceedings.”

In other words, they wanted to delay the start of the proceeding and then hide things from the public.  An attorney told me that the effort to seal the proceedings in a civil action was highly unusual.

Among other things, Woodland Prep’s contention is that “the facts and filings in this case promotes scandal and defamation, poses a serious threat of harassment, and poses a risk of harm to persons who are not parties to this litigation.”  This was based on the fact that AEA has encouraged the community to attend the Jan. 21 hearing.

Judge McCorquodale was not impressed and almost immediately denied the Woodland Prep motion.

It is high time to move forward with this suit and bring closure in some form or fashion to this whole sordid affair.  The people of Washington County have been held in limbo since Woodland Prep was granted an application to move ahead in May 2018, in spite of the fact that the state charter law says that “weak” applications should not be approved and this application was approved, though the National Association of  Charter School Authorizers recommended it not be.

Editor’s note:  It is noteworthy that one of the lawyers defending Woodland Prep is David L. Faulkner, Jr. with the law firm of Christian & Small LLP  of Birmingham.  Faulkner is a state representative who voted in favor of the charter school law passed in 2015.