PCSB Approves Charter Middle School Closing

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
News Release
3333 14th Street, N.W., Suite 210
Washington, DC 20010
Phone: 202-328-2660
For Immediate Release: August 18, 2009
Contact: Nona Richardson 202-328-2670
Washington, D.C. — During its August 17th board meeting, the D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB) deliberated over an array of proposals and requests regarding charter schools.  Most significant was the decision to unanimously approve the request by the leaders of Academia Bilingue de la Communidad (ABC) to relinquish their charter, effective August 30, 2009. David Saba, Chair of ABC’s Board of Trustees, explained to PCSB members that the school’s board had “agonized over the weekend, looking at a number of financial forecasts, and came to the conclusion that [closing the schools] is best for the children.”  The school had struggled with low enrollment in the previous school year, causing financial shortfalls.  After summer recruitment efforts resulted in insufficient student enrollment projections for the 2009-2010 school year, school leaders acknowledged a real possibility of running out of money during the school year.  Mr. Saba suggested they’d rather not subject students and parents to the challenge of having to find alternative schools mid-year, a position the PCSB had encouraged after overseeing the difficult mid-year closing of City Lights PCS in the previous school year.

Josephine Baker, the PCSB’s executive director and board secretary, expressed appreciation to ABC’s leaders for their consideration of the students and families, stating, “I’m sorry to have it come to this conclusion, but we appreciate ABC making this difficult decision in the interest of the students.” “PCSB staff will work with ABC leaders to ensure an orderly closing and offer our assistance to the families that must now find alternative schools for this fall.”

Other board decisions included lifting the Notice of Concern issued to Options PCS for truancy and attendance inadequacies; approving Excel Academy PCS’s request to operate in a new location; conditionally approving Capital City PCS’s request to operate in a new location; approving Friendship PCS - Tech Prep’s request to operate in a new location; and approving National Collegiate PCS’s request to co-locate with another charter school in the Draper School in Ward 8. Board chair Tom Nida adjourned the August meeting after a D.C. resident and an ANC commissioner offered public comment.

The D.C. Public Charter School Board currently oversees 57 public charter schools on 99 campuses, serving more than 28,000 students from every ward of the city.   

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