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Published: Wednesday, 10/16/2013

Detroit charter school shutting down amid problems


DETROIT — A Detroit charter school, notified that its charter will be revoked due to financial and academic problems, is shutting down just weeks after the start of classes, officials said.

Aisha Shule/WEB DuBois Preparatory Academy held its last classes Friday and hosted an enrollment fair Tuesday, where representatives from other schools tried to recruit its about 118 students, the Detroit Free Press reported (http://on.freep.com/1bxMWqd ).

The school had students in grades 6-12 and was ranked in the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state. The school’s authorizer, Detroit Public Schools, forced it to eliminate elementary grades in 2012 due to low academic performance. That cut enrollment by about 100 students.

The closure is effective Oct. 31. The Detroit Public Schools district sent a notice in August that it intended to revoke the school’s charter and on Oct. 1 notified the school that it must close, citing more than $186,000 in overdue bills and the state’s rejection of a deficit-elimination plan.

“The financial condition leaves little confidence that the school has the resources necessary to improve student achievement (or) to maintain a safe learning environment,” according to DPS spokesman Steve Wasko.

School founder Imani Humprey said the closure was no one’s fault.

“We made a very strong effort to do everything they asked us to do,” she said of the months leading to the closure.

The staff at the school has been laid off, said Hasina Murphy, chief academic officer for Key Concepts Educational Management, which runs the school.

Barbara Woolfolk of Detroit, who had two high schoolers enrolled, called the timing of the closure unfair and said the change was “overwhelming.”

“They could’ve at least given us until January break,” she said. “It’s not easy to just jump into a school. ... You have to research and think about the neighborhood, transportation.”

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