Charter school threatens to sue Minn. Dept. of Ed

A Minnesota charter school that educates Muslim students is threatening to sue the Minnesota Department of Education for defamation.

A lawyer for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy alleges in a letter to Education Commissioner Alice Seagren that her deputy commissioner told a Star Tribune reporter this month that the department is investigating lease aid payments from the state to the school. Lawyer Erick Kaardal says no one at the school itself was notified of an investigation.

State aid to the school, which has sites in Blaine and Inver Grove Heights, has come under scrutiny after allegations it allowed TiZA to use taxpayer money to illegally promote religion.

Education Department spokeswoman Christine Dufour says the department will not respond since officials have not yet seen the letter and no lawsuit has yet been filed.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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