Updated 01/09/2012 11:21 PM
DOE Announces Two More Charter Schools Will Close
The Department of Education has decided to close two charter schools but save another one in Manhattan from the chopping block. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
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Brooklyn's Williamsburg Charter High School is out-of-control. But it's not the students — it's the leadership, which has spent millions on consultants and real estate and refused to follow ethics rules.
Since charter schools are independently run, there's not much the Department of Education can do, except close them down. Officials say that is what they plan to do at the end of the school year.
Williamsburg Charter High will be just the third city charter school to have its charter revoked in the middle of a five-year-term, but it won't be the only charter to close this June.
Officials also announced Monday that Peninsula Preparatory Academy's charter will not be renewed because of the Queens school's poor leadership and academic performance.
Students at both schools will need to find a new place to go in September.
DOE officials said students at Peninsula can go to their local elementary schools, but for some students, the local school also is failing or in the process of being closed down.
Officials said they will help those students find another option.
Williamsburg Charter students will have to transfer to another high school, and that includes current seniors who do not manage to fulfill their graduation requirements.
James Merriman, the head of the city's Charter Center, a non-profit support and lobbying organization, actually praised the decision to close the schools, saying, "If a charter isn’t coming close to meeting the goals it promised to reach, or is operating in an irresponsible manner, it’s hard to make a case that it should continue to have the privilege of educating students with public money."
A third charter school, Opportunity in Harlem, is getting a break. The DOE is giving it two more years to turn around and improve student performance.
But losing their school may not be the worst of it for the leaders of Williamsburg Charter. The State attorney general has an ongoing investigation into the mismanagement at the school and two others run by the same organization, called the Believe Network.