The Los Angeles County board of education’s decision to shut down a charter school this month has forced some students to scramble for new placements for the second time in as many months.
Citing “serious cash-flow and operational problems,” the board revoked the charter of the Progressive Education Entrepreneurial Charter School on Oct. 12. Founded by a former professor in the California State University system, the school had opened in Los Angeles last year and ballooned from fewer than 100 students to some 420 in grades 6-10 after adding a second campus this fall in nearby Inglewood, Calif.
Despite the school’s rapid growth, it was only entitled under California law to funding for the daily average of 91 pupils it enrolled last year.
About 65 of the students who were displaced by the school’s closure on Oct. 15 had transferred to the school after the abrupt shutdown in August of a campus run by the California Charter Academy. The Victorville, Calif.-based charter-management company closed down last summer in the face of a state inquiry into its business practices. (“Displaced Students Enrolled in New Charter Schools,” Sept. 22, 2004.)
Malaika Howard, who was a coordinator at the Progressive Education Entrepreneurial Charter School, said last week that many parents did not want their children to return to their local district-run schools because of safety concerns, and that most charter schools are full by this time in the school year. “It’s quite difficult,” she said of the closing.