DC charter school for at-risk students could be shut down

The Orleans Parish School Board voted unanimously to delay a decision on a Central City school closure, after parents and staff from Mahalia Jackson Elementary said they were not given adequate time to provide the board with public input.

The Education Board can either vote to accept the authorizing panel's decision to revoke the charter, effective at the end of this school year, or make a decision after conducting its own hearing on the school. The locally elected school board is directly accountable to the community and will clearly operate with that in mind.

Thursday night, the Cobb school board voted 6-1, with Cobb school board member Susan Thayer opposing, to not renew the school's charter despite several parents and school officials from the International Academy of Smyrna emailing, calling and talking with the school board members.

But the charter school's financial situation, based off its external audit from June 2016, paints a hard financial position, Johnson said. "The intent truly is to have more flexibility over how we meet the goals that are outlined in the Texas Education Code, as well as the goals of our local school board".

At least two members of the school board say they plan to vote against the budget.

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"As I understand, they're three weeks behind their normal turnaround", he said.

"If they're walking away, if they're withdrawing from this commitment, then they've probably got a good reason to doing it", Haft said.

"Funding helps maintain schools". State law doesn't provide for that classification for charter schools, he said.

Greg Rogers, the Education Department's assistant commissioner for fiscal and administrative services and a member of the Charter Authorizing Panel, told his panel colleagues that the Covenant Keepers' negative balances would have resulted in a traditional school being placed in the state's fiscal-distress program.

Earlier, students, parents and educators spoke at the meeting, urging board members to approve the budget increase.

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That lack of clarity has suddenly started to matter a lot in Memphis, where charter schools are struggling to attract enough students to stay viable.

Smith said her concerns about the school started with Tatum's salary, which is among the top half of superintendent salaries in the state despite the small enrollment in the school.

Still, there's more at stake with turnaround districts like the ASD, said Morris, a Klondike alumna who is now executive director of the Klondike Smokey City Community Development Corp. The school had no location, no clear plan for curriculum, only a plan that would take many years to implement. The school has a negative net worth of $5.6 million, he said.

The charter panel will do another full review of the school within a year or sooner if the reports to the charter office make an earlier review necessary.

McKenna asked Ratliff how many students she thought the district should lose. The school has contracted with a special-education teacher at another school to supervise Gober, who is not licensed in special education. The organization's issue, he said, was not with DOE, but with the district board itself.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed 2017-18 state budget would mean a net loss of $4.3 million in state aid for the town, but under the advisement of state legislators the finance board decided not to plan for Malloy's proposal to shift one-third of teacher pension costs to municipalities. "There has been a human resources failure by the IAS leadership".

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