Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Alabama nixes controversial charter school just before opening, the first time the state has shut down a charter

"A controversial public charter school in south Alabama met its end today, two months before opening," Trisha Powell Crain reports for After a half-hour closed session, the Alabama Public Charter School Commission voted to revoke the charter for Woodland Preparatory School in Chatom "for failing to meet conditions of pre-opening, lack of adherence to generally accepted financial standards, and failing to establish community support for the school."

That was two weeks after a hearing in which school representatives explained at a hearing why they haven't been able to meet the commission's conditions. The school was first approved in May 2018 and scheduled to open this August, but in February the commission voted to begin the revocation process, Crain reports. The move marks the first time the state commission has revoked a school's charter. There are currently four public charter schools operating in the state under the commission's authority.

The for-profit rural school, first approved in May 2018, has been beset with controversy since the beginning, plagued by local worries that the charter would drain tax money from local public schools. Locals were also concerned that a national organization that evaluates charter school applications gave the for-profit charter was given a failing grade. Some locals were also worried because the school would have been part of an informal network of charter schools run operated by followers of a Turkish Muslim preacher living in Pennsylvania. 

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