Charleston charter school parents fighting to keep its doors open

Charleston charter school parents fighting to keep its doors open

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston County charter school is pushing for more money and support after a Charleston County School Board member said it could lose its charter at the end of the year.

Prestige Preparatory Academy is an all-boys charter school in North Charleston.

On Monday night several teachers and parents went to the Charleston County School Board meeting to ask board members for additional support and a chance to keep its doors open.

“If this school was to close, where my grandson is concerned, it would hurt him. He’s not going to have that interaction he has now,” Rosalind Jamison said.

Jamison said prior to her grandson attending PPA she pulled him out of public school to home school him and said she wouldn’t let him back into the public school system if PPA was forced to shut down. “This would be terrible if he could not complete the year or comeback next year,” Jamison said.

Last year, there was a chance Prestige would close its doors for good after failing to meet financial and academic goals.

The board voted to give the school another chance if Prestige got its attendance up, something CCSD board member Cindy Bohn-Coats said hasn’t happened.

“Their own analysis says they need 85 students to break even roughly, they have 45 [students] as of yesterday,” Coats said. “Prestige has never been able to attract the level of student population.”

Coats said if the school doesn’t meet the goals it wouldn’t be up to the district to close the school. “That funding stream for them is awful but it’s a state law not a CCSD decision,” Coats said.

Coats said during the hearing last year, which approved giving the school another year, the school was operating at a $100,000 deficit.

“One of the things is they have to be financially solvent to be able to afford the things children deserve in education. If the academic performance didn’t meet the agreed upon goals and they couldn’t be financially solvent then yes, they won’t operate after the end of this year,” Coats said.

According to the school’s performance records, students have grown in some areas such as reading, but saw declines in math MAP math proficiency. There was also a decrease in enrollment.

Parents said they’ve seen improvements in their kids both in the classroom and in behavior at home since they started attending PPA.

“Looking at the progress that the boys have I don’t feel like their investing in the education of our boys and all boys. Tt’s about all the boys that are here,” PPA parent SoMia Major said.

A counselor for PPA said he notices a difference in the students.

“Being able to come here and be a part of what’s going at the academy, I think it’s fulfilling. I wish others especially those who make big decision could bear witness to what we do on a daily basis,” Cyrus Burch said.

Coats said if the school isn’t financially stable at the end of this year the school won’t be operate. In the case that that happens, she said the kids will go back to their home schools.

“The board and the district can work together, and the district and that staff can work together the children are least affected by this move,” Coats said.

VIDEO: Parents pushing to keep charter school open

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