Virginia Beach charter school gains nonprofit status; president says delay didn’t cost school district

Green Run Collegiate gained its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status this week, giving the public charter school a few new advantages, according to its governing board president, Bill Brunke.

People who contribute money to the school can now claim it as a charitable donation, which brings a tax deduction. That will help the school as it reaches out to residents and companies for private funding, Brunke said.

The new nonprofit status will not save the school district money, however; that was a false assumption that some have had as the charter awaited the designation, Brunke said.

“There seems to be this underlying current that suggests that somehow if Green Run Collegiate had this status earlier that the school system would not be required to fund the school to the extent that it has,” he said. “That is just completely inaccurate.”

Brunke said the school system is required by law to give Green Run Collegiate the same amount of funding per pupil as it does to the other schools in the district. The new nonprofit status does not change the financial obligation of the school system, although it does open up more opportunity for private funding for Green Run Collegiate, he said.

School Board members said at a meeting earlier this month that they were unhappy with the delay in the charter school obtaining its nonprofit status.

“We have a perception, from the newspapers and the public, that we’ve dragged our feet on getting this stuff ready to apply for the 501(c)(3),” Board Vice Chairwoman Beverly Anderson said at the board’s Nov. 3 meeting.

At a meeting this week, after approving recommendations for the charter school’s self-evaluation process, Board Member Kimberly Melnyk voiced reservations with Green Run Collegiate’s governing board.

“While I accept the recommendations and I certainly am pleased with everything that’s going on at Green Run Collegiate, I just wanted to state for the record that my reservation with Green Run Collegiate lies solely on their board and the amount of time it has taken them to secure their 501(c)3, which has prohibited their ability to accept private funding,” she said.

Brunke acknowledged that there were some administrative problems early on, notably the departure of three out of four governing board members over a span of a few months earlier this year, but he said they have rebounded strong.

“We’ve had our setbacks, but those setbacks have not cost the school board anything, or our students anything,” he said.

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