A dispute over records related to alleged teacher licensure violations at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA) heated up Wednesday when the school asked for damages in a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Education.
State officials notified the Inver Grove Heights charter school last month that 14 of its teachers lacked proper licenses, and they said the school would lose about $530,000 in state aid as a result. The state has also withheld federal grant funding that the school says totals about $875,000.
TiZA filed a lawsuit against the Education Department earlier this month, claiming the state had failed to provide copies of all the records the school needs to defend itself as it appeals the decision. In response to instructions from a Ramsey County District Court judge, state officials released more than 10,000 pages of documents on Friday.
Those records help clear the school's teachers and "show evidence that [the Department] made the decision to single out TiZA for harsher penalties" than those levied against other schools, TiZA said in a written statement Wednesday.
The school asked the court to award damages of up to $15,000 per violation of data-practices law. The number of violations is set by the court, according to the school's attorney.
The Education Department takes its duty to follow data-practices law seriously and has responded to the school's "extensive" data request, said Deputy Education Commissioner Chas Anderson in a written response.
TiZA is also battling the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota in court over allegations that the public school illegally promotes Islam.