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Kairos Academy to receive state funding while appealing charter termination

Kairos Academy to receive state funding while appealing charter termination

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Kairos Academy, a charter school that serves teen moms and pregnant teens, will continue to receive state funding while it appeals the termination of its school charter.

The elected Utah State Board of Education voted Friday to approve the school's monthly allotment — approximately $58,780 for the month of July and one-twelfth of its annual trust lands payment, about $2,370. Ordinarily, school trust land funds are released in a lump sum.

The school is appealing a decision by the appointed State Charter School Board on June 20 to terminate the school's charter. The school has appealed the decision and has requested an informal hearing with the Charter School Board, which is scheduled for July 19.

The board's action next week could be appealed to the State School Board, which is both the administrator of school funds and the appellate body of the state charter board's decisions.

To withhold funding could be construed as "prejudging" the charter school, said State School Board member Joel Wright. However, the school board needed to weigh the risk of providing full funding if the school is at risk of closure.

The school, which opened in 2014, was put on probation two years ago by the State Charter School Board over concerns about enrollment, qualifications of staff and student achievement.

Mark Huntsman, chairman of the State School Board, reminded board members that the only issue before them was to make a decision about funding while the charter school appeals the State Charter School Board's action.

"The compliance side of Kairos is not on our agenda or even our concern at this present time. It is not a topic or issue for this board. It is being handled by the state charter board. Our concern is our responsibility on the finance side. That is what led the discussion on the finance side, how we pay and what we pay," Huntsman said.

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