Kids Unlimited Charter School Hangs in the Balance

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, March 11 2013 at 5:27 PM, Updated: Mon, March 11 2013 at 6:17 PM

Kids Unlimited Charter School Hangs in the Balance

The Kids Unlimited Charter School, which would serve vulnerable kids in the community, has been five years in the making. But now, there are concerns about a potential conflict of interest.

It's a question from a Medford School District Board member that's raising concerns.

"We've tried to make all of the dialogue with school members very transparent, we've place it on our website," said Tom Cole, Executive Director of Kids Unlimited.

On the website, is where we found a document keeping track of questions from school board members. However, one question from school board Director Trish Prendergast said:

"The host of strong supporters from the grantmaking sector who attended our study session was both impressive and concerning to me. As an executive director of a local non-profit serving underprivileged youth, I am keenly aware that "the pie is only so large" in the local non-profit world."

Without enough money to go around, Cole conveyed his worry that her need to see her own organization funded may stand in the way of granting permission for his charter school.

"I think it's important folks who are in positions that are elected to represent the interest of our kids in the community have a moral ethic to look at things fairly," said Cole.

While Prendergast was unable to speak with us on camera, over the phone --  she spoke to us while she was writing out a grant. She said the quote was misconstrued.    

Prendergast claims she's not making a decision based on being the executive director of a non-profit. Rather she's bringing her experience to the table and contributing knowledge...as is the duty of all school board members.

Meantime, Tom Cole hopes the district's leadership will embrace the project.

"Our kids are struggling...We hope to be given a fair opportunity to be able to impact the lives of kids," he said.

However if the charter school's application is denied? He said he'll go to the Oregon Department of Education for their approval.

Monday night will be the last opportunity for public comment.

The public school board meeting will start at seven in the evening at the Medford District board room inside Central High.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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