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Public gives comments on possible probation for Odyssey Charter School

Sarah Mueller
OCS Board President Josiah Wolcott addresses public hearing

The Odyssey Charter School community gave public comments Monday night on a proposal to place the school on probation.

Education Secretary Susan Bunting is set to present a final decision on Odyssey’s immediate fate to the State Board of Education this month.

The school is on formal review after complaints of wrongdoing. The Charter School Accountability Committee (CSAC) recommends probation with 16 conditions.

Comments primarily centered around the school board’s makeup, currently controlled by members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) - which helped launch the school. CSAC recommends members of AHEPA and affiliated organizations not comprise a majority of the board after complaints of misconduct.

Former non-AHEPA board member Jen Ballas worries AHEPA will try to maintain control, even if DOE removes its majority. She said she’s been harassed for supporting a non-AHEPA majority.

“So, while I’m used to AHEPA attacks, what about new non-AHEPA OCS board members," she said. "How do we assure that these new non-AHEPA OCS board members do what is right for OCS and not AHEPA?”

Other former board members and some parents say Odyssey may go downhill without an AHEPA majority on the school board.

Parent Corey Brewster said he hopes DOE will leave the board’s AHEPA majority intact.

“It is my opinion as a parent and conscientious person, that both AHEPA and Odyssey Charter School have worked in coordination to produce one of the best learning institutions that I have witnessed,” he said.

DOE placed Odyssey under formal review in May after allegations of board members misusing state funds, violating conflict of interest policies, gender discrimination, self-dealing and behaving contrary to the public trust.

Board President Josiah Wolcott said it plans to discuss the recommendations. He adds they’ve already agreed to some.

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