The Odyssey Charter School in Idaho Falls opened in the beginning of the year, promising to replace conventional worksheets with hands-on, project-based learning, reported Boise State Public Radio
this morning. But an outside accreditation organization recently found a long list of problems that may leave 30 high school freshmen and sophomores having to repeat classes, or even an entire grade.
The charter was found to have a 70-percent teacher turnover rate and inadequate special education services, as well as a $250,000 accounting error.
The director of the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, Tamara Baysinger, told Boise State Public Radio that even if the school could fix the problems, last year's high school courses can't be accredited retroactively, and local school districts won't recognize most of the credits of students transferring out of Odyssey.
"One district did indicate that they might consider accepting the elective credits, but not the core credits, to help families out," Baysinger said.
About 200 students in eighth through tenth grade signed up for the charter school last fall, with 165 left at the end of the year. The school received more than $1 million in state funding.
School administrator Karl Peterson said parents are taking a "wait and see" attitude before pulling students out of the charter. He said many of the problems were documentation issues that have been resolved. The state will decide in August whether to revoke Odyssey's charter altogether.