Anchorage School Board votes to eliminate Family Partnership homeschool charter

Dave Donley, running for re-election on the Anchorage School Board, was the sole member who voted against dissolving the homeschool charter
Anchorage School Board votes to eliminate Family Partnership homeschool charter
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 11:05 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 5:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School Board voted late Monday night to dissolve the Family Partnership Charter School and its Academic Policy Committee.

The board decided to eliminate the charter with a 6-1 vote; Dave Donley was the sole board member who voted against the dissolution. Donley is running for re-election for his seat on the board.

The Anchorage School District recommended the charter school transition into an alternative correspondence school after determining the school’s governing body was dysfunctional and accusing it of “repeated breaches of its charter and unacceptable behavior.”

District Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt wrote in a March memo to the school board that the Academic Policy Committee was suffering from in-fighting and conflicts of interest.

The committee — which helped the 1,700-student charter school to connect home-schooled families with resources for online and college courses — will be dissolved as the school transitions to an alternative correspondence school.

Student Josiah Tshibaka was one of the many passionate voices asking the school board to let the charter stay.

“Terminating the charter is not the solution,” Tshibaka said. “It’s blowing up a mountain to address a molehill. It will harm students more than it will help them and it’s not in the best interest of our school. I would urge the board to find a more rational solution. Consider that more than 1,200 people have signed a petition stating that they would leave FPCS if this charter was terminated.”

After the vote, ASD Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt tried to assure parents they would still have an active role in their children’s education.

“The year-round calendar, the ways in which sponsored teachers are selected and support students will not change,” Bryantt said. “Families can still work with their principal and sponsor teachers to select curriculum as they currently do, as long as it’s consistent with federal and state regulations.”

Bryantt said another concern — that parents would not receive the allotment money they use for educational expenses — was unfounded.

“Family Partnership has the largest allotment of correspondence programs in the state and that will not change,” Bryantt said. “And Family Partnership’s fund balance will continue to be earmarked for Family Partnership use. I realize that families may be hesitant to trust that that’s the case, but I will hold true to my word, this transition stems from challenges at the governance level and I expect school operations will largely be unchanged.”

The school’s charter will not officially dissolve for 30 days after the vote. Bryantt said the district expects to have more information for families about what comes next by the end of the week.

Anchorage School Board votes to eliminate Family Partnership homeschool charter