Board of directors to close White Hat school [The Akron Beacon Journal :: ]
(Akron Beacon Journal (OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 14--The board of directors at an Akron charter school that White Hat Management operates has decided to close the K-8 school at the end of the academic year, citing financial concerns brought on by low enrollment.
Brown Street Academy opened this school year after another charter, also operated by White Hat, closed last year on the same site at 1035 Clay St.
The previous school, called Hope Academy Brown Street Campus, closed last June, along with many other charter schools that filed a joint lawsuit in 2010 against White Hat.
The schools have asked White Hat to disclose specific financial details about how the private company used public funding. The company, through contracts with each of its more than 30 charter schools in Ohio, controls more than 90 percent of the public tax funding the schools receive. The money is used to purchase materials, pay rent, hire teachers and other expenses.
In March, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to here the case. A decision is not expected for several months.
After the previous Brown Street school board's contract with White Hat expired in June, the board moved to 2199 Fifth St. in Akron and changed the school's name to Colonial Preparatory Academy. That board now contracts out daily operations to Cambridge Education Group, a Florida-based private company that a former White Hat employee created.
Amy Goodson, the attorney for school boards at Brown Street and other Ohio charter schools (some managed by White Hat), said the board will work with White Hat and the school's sponsor, Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, to follow state guidelines in dissolving the school.
She said enrollment dipped so low that the board and White Hat considered combining grades.
"They look at whether there's enough resources to provide the best environment for the kids," Goodson said, noting that finances may become unsustainable if classroom sizes become to low. "Typically multiple grades being combined is not ideal."
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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