Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, wrote the following note:

The Summit Preparatory Academy Charter School will be shutting down tomorrow. Like so many charter schools, financial mismanagement is the reason for the closure. The school raised funding with a “Go Fund Me” drive, but they are not waiting till the end of the year to shut their doors. 

California teacher, Martha Infante is a Fulbright teacher, and the past-president of the California Council for Social Studies. She emailed me about Summit and this is what she wrote: 

“My last year at L.A. Academy M.S. our school was devastated to lose significant space to a fly by night charter school, Summit Preparatory Charter School. Schools such as these offer free uniforms, laptops, and the promise of a superior education to woo parents away from public schools, knowing these humble parents are seeking the best education possible for their children. Nothing, I mean nothing, is worse to me than lying to immigrant parents who have sacrificed so much to get to this country, to give their children a better life.”

Martha is horrified that the school is closing abruptly. She said,

“Where will those kids go? What will their families do? It is time to fall out of love with the charter school panacea and re-commit to revitalizing the schools we already have. 

If the parents have the wherewithal to re-enroll their children in a local public school, that school will be impacted by the new enrollees without the commensurate number of additional teachers. In other words, class sizes will skyrocket because districts don’t hire teachers in May. The disruption of so many lives is reprehensible and charter companies should be held responsible for this.”

I am horrified too. The charter experiment with its churn, instability and disruption has to end. The children who attend the Summit Preparatory Academy Charter School and the public school children whose classrooms will be packed once the displaced children arrive deserve better than this. 

Summit Preparatory Academy received over a half million dollars from the federal government’s Charter School Program as “seed money.” We will add one more closed charter school to our list of California charter schools that received federal grants that never opened or closed. The total in wasted funding for California alone is now $104 million.