Delaware’s Charter School Accountability Committee is asking the state to put four charter schools on probation, but not recommending that any be closed.
Three of the charters had struggled to attract enough students, while a fourth faces financial hardship stemming from a lawsuit.
Prestige Academy, Friere Charter, and Delaware Design Lab High School all failed to reach 80 percent of their proposed enrollment quotas by April 1, prompting the state to put each on formal review. Prestige’s test scores have also been on the wane.
All three schools have since boosted their enrollment numbers. Prestige also hired a new school leader to replace founder Jack Perry.
Academy of Dover is mired in an ongoing legal dispute with Mosaica, an educational management firm that once contracted with the school. Mosaica succesffuly sued Academy of Dover for breach of contract in 2010, but the school has yet to pay the settlement fee. Academy of Dover says it has a memorandum of understanding with Mosaica on a payment plan that will allow the school to stay afloat financially.
Academy of Dover is also under investigation by the state auditor due to allegations of financial mismanagement. Former school leader Noel Rodriguez is accused of using school funds for personal expenses. Rodriguez left the school late last year.
The Charter School Accountability Committee’s recommendation will now head to Secretary of Education Mark Murphy. Should Murphy also recommend probation at next June’s State Board of Education meeting, his decision will have to be upheld by a majority of state board members. If he opts to close any of the four schools, the decision will be final.