The Baltimore City school board last night was deadlocked on whether to revoke the charter of Dr. Rayner Browne Academy, a West Baltimore elementary/middle school. Four members voted to support Andres Alonso's recommendation to take away the charter from the Baltimore Curriculum Project, while three voted against. With two members of the nine member panel absent, the board did have the majority vote it needed.
So the issue will come before the board again on March 9, when it is likely to be decided. The board did vote to give five schools a two year charter renewal. They are: City Springs, Colllington Square, Coppin Academy, Bluford Drew Jemison, and Baltimore International Academy. Four charters were given five year contracts. They are: Inner Harbor East Academy for Young Scholars, Southwest Baltimore Charter School, Wolf Street Academy and Independence.
CEO Andres Alonso and the board had a few tense moments when Anirban Basu asked for more data to back up the recommendation that one of the charters only be extended for two years, not five. "I resent having to do this," Alonso said as he detailed the poor performance of some of the schools so that the board could understand what his reservations are about the schools the renewals. He said school board members had been given a lot of detailed information before the meeting and that it was "their responsibility" to read it. Alonso said he believed it was "unfair to the schools," that he believed had been working hard to improve.
The board seemed unconcerned and continued to have a detailed, policy debate over when charters should be renewed.