Delaware charter won’t sue to stay open

A Delaware charter school facing closure won’t sue the state to remain open, the school’s board chair tells NewsWorks/WHYY.

Delaware Met board chair Jeffrey Bross said the decision not to sue was made late last week after extended consultation with lawyers.

The charter high school in Wilmington will close on January 22, just months after it opened, and students will have to finish the school year elsewhere. Delaware Met will become the first Delaware charter school to close less than a year after opening.

The board’s decision not to sue comes after two other charter schools challenged the state in an attempt to stay open.

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In the past year, judges ruled against Reach Academy and the Maurice J. Moyer Academic Institute. Each school claimed the state had overstepped its bounds in closing the schools. Reach won an initial injunction, but ultimately neither was able to remain open.

That precedent weighed heavily in Delaware Met’s decision, and figures to augur well for the state Department of Education in future conflicts with charter schools.

“The courts have made it clear in the past that the DOE has great discretion,” Bross said.

Asked whether the school board might sue Innovative Schools, Delaware Met’s charter management organization, Bross said he was, “not in position to discuss that right now.” Several board members have accused Innovative Schools of not fulfilling its contract to help run the school.

The Department of Education decided to revoke Delaware Met’s charter after a formal review uncovered severe school safety and management issues. School leaders insist the troubles were blown out of proportion and that the school was on track. They also argued closing the school down mid-year would do more harm than good for the roughly 200 students, most of whom come from inner-city Wilmington.

“These students were not being served well by the traditional school model,” Bross said. “And now they’re going back to that.”

Delaware Met students can return to their feeder pattern schools for the rest of the school year or apply for a spot in a charter school, so long as that charter has open seats. The school is holding an expo Tuesday for students and parents to help them navigate the transition.

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