Wva Group Loses Court Case Over Bid To Open Charter School

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's Supreme Court has turned back a petition from a group whose attempt to open the state's first charter school was rejected in two northern counties.

School boards in Monongalia and Preston counties denied separate applications in November from the West Virginia Academy.

The academy would have located in Morgantown while recruiting students from across Monongalia County and portions of Preston and Marion counties. The academy's board chairman, John Treu, is a West Virginia University accounting professor.

The academy petitioned the high court to try to force the state Department of Education to approve the public charter application. But the justices ruled in a memorandum decision Tuesday that the department has no authority under state law over the matter.

Earlier this year the state Legislature made changes to the 2019 charter schools law that allows for denied applications to be appealed to the state Board of Education. But those changes came after the academy filed its lawsuit in February.

Treu told the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Wednesday that his board would have to decide its next move.

“I can say that we won’t pursue a local application ever again,” Treu said.

He said any possible application in the future most likely would go through the West Virginia Professional Charter School Board, which was established this year as a possible authorizer of charter schools.

The justices noted that the academy did not sue the local school boards. True told the newspaper that did not happen because the academy did not want a potential multiyear factual dispute “over every sentence of our application."