The Cotati-Rohnert Park School Board has called a special meeting Monday to consider launching the process leading to the revocation of Credo High School's charter.
Administrators from Sonoma County's third largest school district have accused officials from the two-year-old Waldorf-inspired high school of fiscal mismanagement, not fulfilling its educational commitments and falling far below enrollment expectations.
"I do not see, unfortunately, their ability to be fiscally viable with the amount of students they have been able to attract. With the amount of debt they have, I don't see how they can continue as a viable fiscal entity," said Cotati-Rohnert Park Superintendent Robert Haley.
"It's unfortunate. I feel sorry for those involved. I know they have given their time and their energy (but) my responsibility is to the Cotati-Rohnert Park board," he said. "So my advice is that they continue with revocation."
Cotati-Rohnert Park, which oversees Credo as an independent charter, is responsible for fiscal oversight and ensuring the school is following its charter.
If the board votes Monday night to issue the notice of violation to Credo, the charter school backers have until July 26 to either refute or remedy the charges.
Credo Director Chip Romer said the school deserves a chance to take root.
"We recognize that this is a district that is trying to reinvent itself and Credo is offering a really great educational program that is highly successful by multiple measures and we will be a feather in their cap if they will let us get out of the start up phase," he said.
Credo opened its doors in 2011 to 39 students, well below early projections of 100. Each year, the school has fallen below enrollment expectations and district officials have accused Credo administrators of not making adequate staffing and financial adjustments requisite with lower enrollment.
The school enrolled 80 students last year and expects 108 in 2013-14, 154 in 2014-15 and 172 in 2015-16.
School officials had originally projected much faster growth, but backers say the school could still grow to accommodate more than 600 ninth through 12th graders because of the popularity of the Waldorf philosophy in the area.
Credo, which rents space in the former Richard Crane Elementary School site on Southwest Boulevard in Rohnert Park for $2,500 a month, runs a "Waldorf-inspired" curriculum that adheres to an low-technology, arts- and language-heavy curriculum with elective classes that typically include black and white printmaking, book binding and blacksmithing.
The Waldorf name is trademarked and affiliated with private schools. Credo is the only public Waldorf-inspired high school in the North Bay, although there are seven Waldorf-inspired kindergarten through eighth grade schools in the North Bay.
Credo is required to meet state and federal academic standards.
Credo students hit 822 on the State Academic Performance Index in the most recent data available. The state goal is 800 out of a possible 1,000.
The district's other two high schools, Rancho Cotate High and the dependent charter, Technology High, earned 744 and 916, respectively.
Conflict has also arisen over the school's lack of accreditation, with the district contending the school is not likely ever to earn accreditation because of its fiscal instability.
But Romer said the process is under way. An application was submitted in April and a site visit is expected in the fall, he said.