The survival of a metro area charter school involved in two federal lawsuits is in question: The state this morning turned down a Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy request for a new authorizer, which it needs to stay open. Hours later, a federal judge denied a temporary restraining order plea the school had hoped would keep it open past a Thursday deadline.
TiZA's current authorizer, the Washington, DC, based nonprofit Islamic Relief USA, will become ineligible when a new charter law banning out-of-state overseers kicks in tomorrow.
In a down-to-the-wire federal suit against the state Department of Education and Islamic Relief earlier this month, TiZA questioned the constitutionality of the new law and asked the judge to help keep the school open until that matter is resolved.
The state and Islamic Relief were codefendants in an ongoing American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against TiZA over charges it promotes religion.
Meanwhile, the Twin Cities-based nonprofit Novation Education Opportunities filed and re-filed an application to take over authorizing TiZA. The department denied that application early Thursday, citing conflicts of interests, lack of a clear plan to address concerns raised by Islamic Relief and "a lack of candor."
On Wednesday, the Education Department also denied Novation applications to oversee nine other charter schools. A department spokeswoman said that workload expansion would go beyond a plan for growth Novation submitted to the state last year.