Baltimore City schools file counterclaims against charters

Baltimore City Schools have filed counterclaims in a lawsuit with charters.

Baltimore City Public Schools filed counterclaims Tuesday accusing some charter school operators of failing to provide required services to students and maintain accurate records, according to a news release from the district.

Filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, the counterclaims come after some charter schools sued the district last fall.

The lawsuit is rooted in the annual dispute between district and charter leaders over the money the district proposes to pay charters per student.

"This countersuit is a fourth attempt to avoid the issue at hand," said Will McKenna, executive director of Afya Baltimore Inc., a charter school operator. "We ask the school system to stop targeting us and start talking with us. We will hold good-faith negotiations with them any time and anywhere."

In the counterclaims, the district alleges the charter schools are required by contract but failed to provide services for disabled students, submit operating budgets, also keep timely attendance and financial records.

"The increased funding the charter operators are seeking would leave less for traditional schools," City schools CEO Gregory Thornton said in a statement. "We want to make clear that we have provided far more in services and other benefits to charter schools than is required by law, and that the charters have violated certain provisions of their contracts."

tprudente@baltsun.com

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