Last year Imagine Charter School @ Firestone had two appeals before the State Board of Education. At the second hearing the State Board ordered the St. Vrain Valley School District to negotiate a charter school contract with Imagine. SVVSD eventually negotiated a contract, but not for a fall of 2007 opening, instead for a fall of 2008 opening.
Now the charter school has filed a lawsuit saying the district didn't operate in good faith to negotiate a timely contract and obey the order of the State Board. This will be an interesting case to watch for a number of reasons:
1. The exclusive chartering authority law requires school districts to not violate an order of the State Board, so if the court determines the district did violate an order will the State Board revoke SVVSD's exclusive chartering authority?
2. Will the management company be able to recoup costs they put out for a fall 2007? The charter school didn't know it wasn't going to be able to open until late in August, leaving many enrolled families without a school for their children, after the beginning of the district's school year.
3. What responsibility does a school district have to negotiate a charter contract in good faith? What criteria determines if they didn't act in good faith? What about not having a meeting to talk? What about not responding to phone calls or emails? Where will the court draw the line on what "good faith effort" means?