Proposed charter school for Ferndale rejected
Plans to open a charter school in the Ferndale Public Schools have been shelved in the wake of opposition from the district and revelations that the would-be operator has a felony record.
Saginaw Valley State University, which was to be the authorizer of the proposed Victory Academy of Science and Technology, released a statement Friday saying the university would not authorize the school.
“Leaders of Saginaw Valley State University’s School-University Partnership Office spoke with leaders of Victory Academy of Science and Technology (VAST Academy), a proposed charter school, late Thursday night,” university spokesman J.J. Boehm said.
“As a result of that conversation, VAST leaders have formally withdrawn their application seeking to have SVSU authorize the school. SVSU will not be authorizing VAST Academy.”
District Superintendent Blake Prewitt had written SVSU officials earlier this month to protest the planned charter school, arguing it would duplicate services offered by the Ferndale schools and objecting to the academy’s proposed operator, Michael Bartley, whose most recent listed address is in Southfield.
According to public records, Bartley pleaded guilty to fleeing from police in 2007 and was sentenced to probation.
Bartley did not respond to phone messages.
Plans called for the school to be housed at the site of a former charter school, the Academy of Oak Park, on Mendota Street in Royal Oak Township.
Prewitt met Thursday with two SVSU officials regarding the proposed school.
“I would like to thank SVSU for not allowing this charter school to open,” he said Friday. “I hope this experience leads to changes on the state level regarding oversight of charter schools, especially in the application process.”
State Rep. Robert Wittenberg, D-Oak Park, also had expressed concern about Bartley and the proposed charter school in a statement Thursday. Wittenberg said a tutoring company run by Bartley, Metro Educational Concepts, received a grade of D+ from the Michigan Department of Education in 2007-08.
Craig Douglas, the dean of education at SVSU, which authorizes 18 charter schools throughout Michigan, acknowledged the school was not initially aware of Bartley’s criminal record.