MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Charter revoked. Today a state panel agreed with the Memphis Shelby County School board to pull the plug on a local charter school.
The Memphis Academy of Health Sciences (MAHS) appealed a January 12th decision by the board to revoke the charter and close the school. Today, the appeal was denied, MSCS’ ruling was upheld by the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission.
The decision follows allegations of former school administrators misspending school money, accused of misappropriating nearly $800,000 in funding.
“At least six years of mismanagement, and it’s hard to un-ring that bell,” said a member of the state charter school board.
In a unanimous vote, the board voted the monetary amounts were much too large to ignore, opting to do away with the academy.
“The former executive director misappropriated school funds totaling at least $337,000,” said Commission Executive Director Tess Stovall. “The executive finance director and executive director made questionable disbursements totaling at least $400,000.”
MAHS Executive Director Alan Gumbel told FOX13 that he’s not in favor of the board’s decision, but said the attention now shifts to the students’ well-being.
“I do understand the decision of the board,” said Gumbel, “I disagree with it, but at a certain level I do understand it,” he said. “Our focus now is on making sure our families and students get the educational opportunities.”
The state comptroller accused the MAHS governing board of failing to provide adequate oversight and failing to report suspected unlawful activities. Those in the community who hold this school dear told FOX13 that closing the academy is still a harsh and unnecessary reality. They said their kids thrive at the school.
“He was at a school where he was one of very many in a classroom, but here he got more attention, more attention in a smaller setting. He could get help a lot quicker,” said MAHS parent Veronica Fair-Miller.
Former student Troy Cunningham told FOX13 that the school was very family-oriented and intensely focused on academics.
“We were prepared to ace every test, so it was no such thing as low grades or bad grades,” he said.
Meantime, Gumbel said now that the final decision has been made, the academy is set to close its doors, permanently, at the end of the school year in May.
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