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Charter school board member welcomed back

By Staff | Dec 3, 2013

Daryl Teblum will rejoin the governing board of the Cape Coral Charter School System in time for its next meeting next week.

The city council voted unanimously Monday to rescind Teblum’s suspension on a legal technicality after City Attorney Dolores Menendez received an opinion from the state attorney general that essentially allows Teblum to be “grandfathered” out of having to resign his position due to legislation enacted after his original appointment.

“I’m absolutely thrilled. I didn’t understand how a new law can be retroactive,” Teblum said. “I’m looking forward to doing great things to help the school system.”

On Sept. 9, the City Council suspended Teblum and Jason Pawlowski from sitting on the Charter School Authority governing board because of a state statute that prohibits an employee of the charter school, or his or her spouse, from being a member of the governing board of the charter school.

Pawlowski’s term ended Sept. 30.

The state’s lack of differentiation between for-profit schools and municipal schools has long been a sticking point for the council when dealing with charter school issues.

State Attorney General Pam Bondi’s opinion concerned when the statute went into effect.

“Because the board member was appointed prior to the effective date of the act and the prohibition applies prospectively, it is my opinion that this board member may serve out his or her term. However, this board member may not be reappointed to the governing board of the charter school so long as his or her spouse is employed by the school,” the opinion states.

As for differentiation between municipal and private charter schools, Bondi’s opinion said nothing limits the statute’s provisions to certain charter schools.

In a memo to the city council, Menendez said “if city council, by a majority vote, suspends Mr. Teblum’s suspension no later than Dec. 9, Teblum can participate in the next charter school board meeting scheduled for Dec. 12.”

Councilmember Lenny Nesta made a motion during new business to reinstate Teblum immediately, and there wasn’t much discussion before the vote was taken, just a warning from Councilmember Derrick Donnell warned that Bondi’s opinion was just that, an opinion.

“I didn’t think it would take this long, but I’m glad a right decision was reached and now we can move forward and everyone is happy,” Teblum said.