SF Flex charter school closes
The San Francisco Flex Academy’s luck has run out.
Last year, the tiny school serving close to 100 Bay Area students won an unprecedented victory when it convinced members of the State Board of Education to ignore their staff’s wishes and renew its charter for another five years.
It was the first time the board had rejected such a recommendation since California’s first charter school opened 25 years ago.
But in recent weeks, the board’s members, including President Michael Kirst, suddenly acknowledged the laundry list of serious problems documented by California Department of Education staff and in a stunning reversal, made plans to close SF Flex.
Those problems include failure to manage its finances, failure to focus on academics and failure to hold public meetings or publicly post agendas and minutes, a violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, according to state education records.
So why the change of heart?
“It didn’t make sense,” said Mark Kushner, the school’s founder.
The board members all declined to say, but the timing of the Notice of Violation they approved and sent to SF Flex in May could provide some clues.
That action came a few weeks after this news organization published a two-part investigative series on K12 Inc., the company behind a profitable but low-performing network of online schools and ones like SF Flex, which combine online and regular instruction.
The examination revealed that the company reaps tens of millions of dollars annually in state funding while graduating fewer than half of its high school students. And before joining the board in 2011, Kirst worked for K12 as a consultant, advising the company and helping to promote its schools.
In the end, SF Flex closed without fanfare.
Before the board had a chance to drop the ax at the meeting it held this past week in Sacramento, the school’s leaders voted to rescind its charter and close their doors voluntarily.SF Flex charter school closes - Internal Affairs:
Big Education Ape: California Reaches Settlement With K12 Over False Claims Allegations - WSJ -http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/07/california-reaches-settlement-with-k12.html
Big Education Ape: Facing tough questions from Calif. officials, virtual charter school operator settles with attorney general | 89.3 KPCC - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/07/facing-tough-questions-from-calif.html