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Paulden school officials file appeal of state charter board order

Paulden Elementary School is fighting to stay open with an appeal against a state charter school board order to revoke the school’s charter contract.

The board voted in May to revoke the charter because it said school officials failed to get fingerprints on three teachers and to conduct criminal background checks on three staff members. Arizona State Charter Association Executive Director Kristen Jordison said the school has had nearly a year to fix the problems.

“The school has been given much more than 90 to correct,” Jordison said.

Paulden Elementary School Director Kay Deliman said the problems were fixed and that the appeal says the board should not proceed with the revocation because of that.

“We are totally in compliance and I have every confidence that this will turn out fine,” Deliman said. “We’d like to even open other charter school.”

She says the appeal is “all about the right to cure” problems at a charter school. When the board revoked the charter, the association also began withholding 10 percent of the school’s allotted monthly funds. Deliman said the association then resumed the monthly payments after she and her staff fixed the problems.

The appeal will go through the Maricopa County Superior Court and oral arguments are set for Jan. 25. The board was the order to revoke to remain in effect.

“The board concluded that the health and safety of children were left undone and that demonstrates a reluctance or inability to rectify,” Jordison said. Jordison was referring the fingerprint checks and background checks that charter school’s require of its staff members so they hire only employees who are safe to be around children.

Deliman said the school now is put into a position to defend itself.

“Anyone can be charged with anything and then it’s backwards. You have to prove yourself innocent,” Deliman said. She wanted the school’s lawyer, Leo Condos, to make further comments, but he was unavailable for comment before the Review’s press time Monday.

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