AZ charter school doesn't open, leaves parents scrambling - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

AZ charter school doesn't open, leaves parents scrambling

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (CBS5) -

The American Leadership Academy at Anthem in San Tan Valley was set to open its doors Tuesday to about 250 kids ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade, but the doors remained closed, leaving parents and kids scrambling.

"I took the day off so I could be there with my kids for the first day of school and no," said Lexi, a parent at the school who asked to withhold her last name.

Lexi is a parent of four kids. She, along with a fifth-grade teacher and another parent, ready to share the same school, are instead sharing with CBS 5 News their disappointment after getting word that American Leadership Academy wouldn't be opening its doors after all.

"The school was finished, they had all their teachers ready,  the curriculum, the teachers had their classes, it was ready to go, and so I just feel confused," Lexi said.

The school's executive director said they broke a rule in March by unenrolling 44 high school students from one of their campuses on a Friday and then re-enrolling them on a Monday. The speculation was that it was done to help with the schools AIMS over all scores or their A grade status.  

"The net effect of those students being dropped, even if it had any positive effect on scores, it would be nominal, at best nominal, I mean it would account for 2 percent of our total grade," said Arch Archunde at the American Legion Academy.

The charter school board sent out a statement Tuesday saying they "denied the expansion requests (add a new site and increase its enrollment cap) of American Leadership Academy (ALA) because of ALA's failure to comply with statutory and contractual attendance reporting responsibilities during this past school year." 

The parents are left wondering.

"I don't understand how they can take that away, if they can operate five other campuses, I don't understand how they can't operate one more, I just wish I understood the situation a little bit more," said another parent, Jill, who asked to withhold her last name. 

Myrna Humpherys came out of retirement to teach at ALA and has more than 30 years of teaching experience. 

"I think it's political, I think it's a very political move on the state charter board," Humpherys said.

The executive director said charter schools are about having a choice and they feel the charter school board took that choice away from parents.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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