D.C. Superior Court Upholds PCSB’s Revocation of KIMA’s Charter and Dismisses KIMA’s Lawsuit

Friday, May 13, 2011

For Immediate Release
Contact: Audrey Williams 202-328-2748
awilliams@dcpubliccharter.com

Washington, D.C. — On May 9, 2011, the D.C. Superior Court upheld the D.C. Public Charter School Board’s (PCSB) decision to revoke the charter of the Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers Public Charter School (KIMA).  Concurrently, the Court dismissed KIMA’s lawsuit challenging the PCSB’s revocation decision.  In his ruling on KIMA’s administrative appeal, Judge Michael Rankin noted that the PCSB has been “given broad authority by the Congress to use discretion, based on its expertise, in matters affecting educational policy choices.”  Judge Rankin concluded that the PCSB’s decision to revoke KIMA’s charter due to poor test results, truancy problems, underdeveloped curriculum, and governance shortcomings deserved deference and should be sustained.   Judge Rankin simultaneously dismissed KIMA’s related civil lawsuit on the grounds that it was an impermissible “tactical maneuver by KIMA to circumvent the administrative law process and avoid the highly deferential standard of review inherent in judicial review of agency action.”

The Superior Court’s decision comes after nine months of legal proceedings between the PCSB and KIMA.  On August 11, 2010, the PCSB voted unanimously to revoke KIMA’s charter.  The school appealed to the D.C. Superior Court, and also asked that its charter revocation be stayed pending the appeal.  On August 23, 2010, the court rejected KIMA’s stay request, largely on the grounds that the PCSB’s revocation decision would likely be upheld on the merits.  KIMA accordingly ceased operations last August, but continued to pursue its appeal.  In his May 9 decision, Judge Rankin rejected KIMA’s challenges to the PCSB’s revocation decision and dismissed its companion lawsuit.

The PCSB’s Chair, Brian W. Jones, expressed satisfaction with the ruling. “Parents and taxpayers need to have confidence that the Board will hold charter schools accountable for delivering a quality education with the taxpayer money they receive.  This requires that the Board have the discipline to close failing schools, and that the courts reject meritless litigation attacks on those decisions.”   

The PCSB has revoked or accepted relinquishment of charters from 26 schools since 1997.  During the current school year, Thea Bowman Preparatory Academy Public Charter School relinquished its charter, and the Board voted to revoke Nia Community Public Charter School’s charter on April 28, 2011.   Both schools will close at the end of the current school year.   

The D.C. Public Charter School Board oversees 52 public charter schools on 93 campuses serving more than 29,000 students living in every ward of the city.  Public charter schools serve approximately 39% of all public school students in Washington, D.C.  Learn more about PCSB at www.dcpubliccharter.com.

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