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Two Utah charter schools dumping vendor of online programs
Education » Move comes in wake of an audit that is critical of distance-learning oversight.

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Harmony disputes Mana Academy’s right to end the contract, and the parties are in mediation, Wolfgramm said. "It most likely will go into litigation."

The on-site school, meanwhile, is doing well and is in great demand, he said, with nearly 400 students vying for the approved 325 slots.


Distance learning

o Fifteen of Utah’s 90 charter schools and 23 of the state’s 41 school districts have online or distance-learning programs, according to the Utah State Office of Education. View the audit that found lax management practices. › sltrib.com

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At Pacific Heritage, Pupua and Director Dirk Matthias said, the problem with Harmony has centered on control.

Harmony helped fill student slots — and thus helped the academy keep its budget intact — but the school’s lack of control over teachers and curriculum has not been good, they said.

"That’s one of my big concerns," Matthias said.

DaVinci appeared before the board for permission to change its mission to explicitly include online and distance learning. The school also shared other new policies it has written to address concerns raised by the audit.

A contingent of DaVinci families — five mothers and more than a dozen children — also attended Thursday’s meeting to express support for the school’s distance-learning program. The program for 532 online K-6 students is through Harmony.

"My child is not a ghost student," said April Stoddart of North Ogden, whose son attends DaVinci.

Kim Goates’ four daughters — two sets of twins — are enrolled in DaVinci’s online program.

The program, she said, is perfect for parents whose children have different needs and learning styles.

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"It gives us the freedom to educate our children and still meet state requirements," she said. "You can’t beat individualized learning."

kmoulton@sltrib.com Twitter: @KristenMoulton

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