Middleburg Community Charter School will be required to pay Loudoun County Public Schools almost $50,000 for technology and support services provided by the school division, even though the division forgot to send a bill for a year and a half.
After heated debate during a meeting June 28, the Loudoun County School Board voted 6-2-1 to charge the 115-student charter school in full for the services.
“I believe when you get a bill, you’re responsible for 100 percent of it,” Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) said. “I’m sorry that it was late, but that means MCCS was able to conduct business for two years without the extra bills.”
Jeff Morse (Dulles) and Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) voted against the motion and suggested instead that the charter school be charged just 75 percent of the bill, because the school division did not send an invoice for six quarters, allowing the charges to stack up.
“In normal operations of business, invoices would be submitted quarterly. But that didn’t happen,” Morse said.
“You can’t provide your customer something and not let them know what it’s costing them,” Turgeon added.
They suggested that the school probably would have used the division’s support less if they knew what it was costing them.
“They have people supporting them in volunteer roles that could provide this support for free,” Morse said, adding that Loudoun County Public Schools could find thousands of dollars buried in the seat cushions in the administration building. “But that’s a significant amount to this school.”
Division counsel Stephen DeVita also pointed out that the language in the contract between the charter school and the school division was murky about what services would be provided free of charge and what would cost. “So that engendered some confusion,” he said.
He’s since reworded the contract to make it more clear, he added.
Board members also agreed to allow the charter school to pay the bill in 12 installments over three years.