By Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail
Murmurs arose in a Charleston ballroom in September, about an hour into education attorney Howard Seufer Jr.’s presentation.
The crowd of county board of education members from across West Virginia had just been directed by Seufer to look at all the information the state’s new charter school law requires to be in any application to create such a school. The school board members would have to review all this if someone applied to create a charter.
“That’s a pretty tedious process,” Seufer said, referring them to his handouts. “It’s not just checking boxes.”
With West Virginia’s first charter schools allowed to open the school year after next, and with the possibility that a request to create one could appear in front of any of the 55 county school boards before the first application deadline in August 2020, Seufer delivered a warning.
“It is not possible for you to just say, ‘We’re not going to have any in our county and your application is denied,’ ” Seufer said. “That’s how it was sold, I think, to some people. ‘Oh, counties have complete control over this. Don’t worry about charter schools, if you don’t want one you don’t have to authorize it.’ That is not true.”