Tuesday, Pueblo City Schools District 60 released a letter from School Board President Stephanie Garcia that raised concerns about the state of one of the few remaining charter schools in the Cesar Chavez Network.
The operation of Deloris Huerta Preparatory High was the main focus of concern. Garcia wants to know who is in charge of running the school. Former CEO and Founder Lawrence Hernandez was fired by his own board in October of 2009, and the position has remained empty since.
Earlier this year, Dennis Feuerstein stepped down as the DHPH board president, leaving then Vice President Donielle Gonzales to pick up the pieces. Shortly after Feuerstein left, three other board members also resigned.
Since then, District 60’s school board approved all of the remaining board members, with the exception of Pablo Gonzales. Last Friday, the board voted unanimously to reject him as a board member, after he reportedly made comments about not wanting to cooperate with the district.
Ironically, it was Pablo Gonzales that attended a district board meeting when the results of the charter school network’s CSAP audit were released. At that time, he and several District board members made comments about how they were eager to work together.
Just days after approving him as a DHPH board member, Ted Hernandez submitted his resignation. However, because it was effective immediately, it left the DHPH without the ability to form a quorum. Now, D-60 will have to place people on the DHPH board so that it can reach that vital operating status.
Gonzales says, she has at least four candidates who have been interviewed to fill open board positions. She says she will present the list to the district soon, and more names will be submitted as they find people willing to take on the roll. She says, all candidates for the positions will be qualified individuals.
Meanwhile, in her letter, Garcia also raised concerns about the high school’s financial state. Recently, the charter school network had requested an advance on per-pupil money in order to make ends meet in regard to payroll. Garcia is concerned after hearing the network may be behind in other bills as well. She also is questioning the schools dropout rate.
Gonzales says the only debts the network has at the moment are tied to the former charter school in Colorado Springs that broke away last year. She also says those debts are that school’s responsibility.
Gonzales also maintains that the drop out rate for DHPH is inaccurate because many students who leave the high school are returning to D-60 schools and not dropping out. After looking into the situation, Gonzales says, 13 students who have been reported as dropouts are actually enrolled in other schools.
As for who is currently running the high school, no name has been released.