Readers pointed out this news story - a charter school in Sacramento, just 6 weeks into the school year, closed its doors to 400 students. Just like that.
The story comes from CBS Sacramento. The CEO claims there are "safety" issues in a building that Placer County said can only hold 75 but had 400. But the County also said that it didn't tell the CEO to shut down "not wanting to interrupt the school year."
And in shades of SPS, here's how the parent meeting with the CEO went:
During a meeting with parents Tuesday night, Heimbichner spent the
first 30 minutes of his presentation talking about the history of
Horizon Charter Schools before someone finally stood up and yelled for
him get to the point.
The angry interruptions became a common theme throughout. Some
parents got so frustrated they walked out.
“He never answered anyone’s questions directly, and it was a waste of
time and so frustrating,” student Diamond Matthews said.
What was very sad is a little girl, about 9 or 10, in the video who said a lot of people were upset.
“Some of them had meltdowns,” Claire Daggett said. “My teacher had one
and it’s tough.”
This school is part of a charter group in Sacramento that has both bricks and mortar and online learning schools. What is interesting is that their enrollment form asks for both race/ethnic background and income. I believe it is okay to ask that as long as you DO tell people that they don't have to answer. It doesn't say that on the application.
I'm fairly certain that to enroll in public school you do not have to give this information if you don't want to (except for income for free/reduced lunch services).
So could this happen under I-1240 - a charter suddenly closing? Absolutely. It's in Section 221 and it only says that the charter non-profit has to return public school funds to the district. "The dissolution of an applicant nonprofit corporation shall proceed as provided by law."
There is nothing about perhaps something like a 30-day notification to parents or the district the charter is in (presumably so they can prepare for the new students who will likely come their way). Nothing.
Also to note, in the Florida case with the principal who got $519K to shut down her 180 student charter school? They had over $700K in public funds that SHOULD have been returned to the district. Instead, the charter board gave her $519K, spent the rest on shutting down the school and returned a scant $10K to the district. Yes, that could also happen under I-1240.
The reporter in the piece did get one thing wrong when it was stated:
At the end of the school day, it’s the kids who are now left with
nowhere to turn.
Yes, they do. They have - and will always have - their traditional schools to return to because those schools take ALL students.