Questions about the management of Imagine Schools in Indiana is no
longer confined to the charter schools' Fort Wayne locations.
Concerned community members are meeting Tuesday night to discuss
concerns at Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy East.
The Rev. Theron Williams of Mount Carmel Baptist Church called me
last week about the meeting. A founding board member of the charter
school, he said members of the mostly African American community
surrounding the school now believe they have been shut out of a role
in its operation.
Williams, who is no longer a board member, said questions have been
raised about how discipline is handled at the school, with an
enrollment that's 84 percent African American, 9 percent Hispanic and
5 percent multiracial. Williams said he was told that a teacher at
Imagine East made the comment that "my little black students are
retarded," and another disciplined students by making them get on
their hands and knees on the floor.
He was also critical of the hiring process at the school, which he
said mostly excluded people from the immediate community.
Williams told me that the charter school's founders originally sought
a charter through the Indianapolis Office of Charter Schools, but the
application was rejected.
"(Then-Mayor) Bart Peterson said there wasn't enough local
oversight," he said.
Lack of local oversight is what JG reporters Dan Stockman and Kelly Soderlund discovered in their investigation of the Fort Wayne Imagine schools.
There are also unhappy charter school founders in Kennesaw, Ga.
A school there that ended its association with from Imagine Inc. If you watch
the video from the postings on the Schools Matter blog, you'll see that these people are almost giddy at the
prospect of being free of the Virginia-based company.