D.C. Public Charter School Board Proposes Charter Revocation of One School, Accepts Surrender of Two Others

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Contact: Nona Richardson
Washington, D.C. — The D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB or the “Board”) signaled its continued focus on high quality school options when it voted on June 21, 2010 in favor of a proposal to revoke the charter of Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers (KIMA). The unanimous decision was based on material violations of the school’s charter and was made after a long list of deficiencies was read into the record (see below). Additionally, the PCSB accepted requests from Academy for Learning through the Arts (ALTA) and Children’s Studio School to relinquish their charters.

Board Chair Brian Jones explained that the KIMA revocation vote would begin a statutorily-mandated process that could take up to 75 days before the Board issues a final decision. KIMA will have 15 days after receiving written notification to request an informal hearing, at which school leaders could address each of the deficiencies listed in the proposal and community members could weigh in. The PCSB would then have 30 days to render a final decision. 

Representatives from ALTA did not appear at the Board’s meeting but instead sent a letter requesting to surrender their charter by the end of June. Children’s Studio’s founder and board chair Marcia McDonnell was present to state the school’s intention to relinquish its charter. Ms. McDonnell announced plans to continue as a private school. 

Board Chair Brian Jones acknowledged to the standing-room only audience that, “Closure of a school at any time is disruptive to families. It has always been the priority of the Board and staff to ease the transition, and as always we will help families bring closure and find new schools.” He further asserted, “But the fact of the matter remains that this Board is highly focused on offering the highest quality alternatives to D.C. families. Closing under-performing schools is a painful but necessary part of this process.”

Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers Public Charter School is a candidate for revocation as a result of the following violations of the terms of its charter agreement and applicable law:

  • Failure to design and implement the educational program described in its application.
  • Lack of sufficient books and other supplies for all students attending the school, and failure to develop and provide curriculum materials to all teachers at the school, despite the $1.7 million budget reserve.
  • Failure to operate in accordance with the mission statement provided in its application.
  • Failure to comply with all federal requirements related to educating students with special needs.
  • Failure to have the charter school open to all District students tuition-free and have nonresident students pay tuition to attend at the applicable rate established by the Board of Education.
  • Failure to have a Board of Directors that is in compliance with the School Reform Act.

The D.C. Public Charter School Board currently oversees 57 public charter schools on 99 campuses, serving approximately 28,000 students living in every ward of the city.  Public charter schools now serve 38% of all public school students in Washington, DC.

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