A Pennsylvania court has ordered the state education department to grant a five-year charter to the Insight PA Cyber Charter School—an applicant the state had rejected three times, largely because officials said its nonprofit governing board was not sufficiently independent from K12 Inc., the for-profit management company with whom the school proposed to contract.
Insight PA first applied for a charter back in 2012. During a hearing in Harrisburg, the state capital, the board’s president deferred to a K12 official to answer most questions. The education department denied Insight PA a charter that year, then again in 2013 and in 2014. None of the state’s 14 cyber charters met the state’s academic benchmarks last school year.
In its ruling, the state Commonwealth Court said that the education department and charter school appeal board “raise fair points” about problems with the agreement between Insight and K12, but concluded that those issues don’t violate Pennsylvania’s charter school law or a legal precedent for determining independence.
A version of this article appeared in the May 30, 2017 edition of Education Week as Judge Orders Pa. to Approve Thrice-Rejected Cyber Charter