A Georgia Cyber Academy student, takes a picture of her science project to show to her teacher via email while she is taking an online lesson at home. AJC FILE PHOTO

NEW DETAILS: Company given more time to release charter school records

Students at Georgia’s largest public school should get access to their records next week despite a legal battle between the school and its corporate vendor.

The State Charter Schools Commission had given K12 Inc. until noon Friday to return student records to Georgia Cyber Academy, an online charter school with about 10,000 students. The two are feuding during a breakup, as the school’s board cuts back on its use of the company’s services. The school recently complained to the commission that K12 was withholding the records, but the company denied it.

On Friday afternoon, the commission announced it was extending the deadline until noon Tuesday because of a separate action in a legal hearing over the breakup. A lawyer for K12 told the commission that the company was ordered in an arbitration session Friday morning to turn over all relevant records by Sunday night.

The company had told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday afternoon that it wasn’t withholding the student records, which seemed to contradict the school’s complaint. Then, late that night, a spokesman provided a legal brief from the arbitration process that explained how the differing accounts could coexist.

The brief says that on July 23 the school withdrew nearly 7,500 students from K12’s information system, known as TotalView, despite a warning from the company that doing so would cause a “disruption.” It effectively severed the students from their information, the brief said. It also caused another problem.

By withdrawing students from K12’s system, the brief said, their company-issued computers were automatically thrown into “reclamation” mode, meaning they’d stop working after three days and cause instructions to be issued for their return to the company.

The fallout from the spat has led some parents to worry about a chaotic start of school, but school officials insist classes will begin as scheduled Monday.

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