Wednesday, August 8, 2018

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Educators clash over proposed charter school

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Poughkeepsie City School District Board of Education recently entertained a proposal on a charter school envisioned for the city and the teachers' union has denounced the plan.

Robert Watson has applied to the state to create Hudson Valley Charter School (HVCS) which, if opened, would take students and critical government funding from the 4,700-student school district. 

Robert Watson is the brother of the school board President, Dr. Felicia Watson.  Both Dr. Watson and board member Debra Long wrote letters of support for HVCS to the SUNY Charter School Institute in January of 2018.

The teachers' union only recently learned of Watson’s and Long's support of HVCS triggering a response from Stephanie Green, president of the Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers' Association. 

The union had previously endorsed both Watson and Long and is dismayed by their actions, according to Green.  In a prepared statement, Green indicated that the two had received union support "based on their platform and promises of reforming and improving our district, increasing transparency and putting an end to nepotism and impropriety, all while clandestinely endorsing a project that would funnel money away from the students of our district." 

Green considers their support of the charter school a "fundamental conflict of interest."  Dr. Watson, board Vice President Doreen Clifford and trustee Long could not be reached for comment.

 


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