ATLANTA - A high-performing charter school in southwest Atlanta will be closing its doors despite months of fighting by parents to keep it open. The board of the Latin Academy Charter School decided to shut down because of the school’s struggling finances.
The school never recovered from the loss of $600,000 which police said the academy's founder embezzled.
Emotions were running high following the board’s decision.
“It hurt it felt like knives gutting me for each one of my children and their possibilities,” said Keish Spells, one of the parents attending Thursday’s meeting.
“We just weren't meeting the goals we needed to meet to stand compliance with the district but then also quite frankly a lot of severe gaps that have made us concerned about our ability to have a school operational next year,” said Latin Academy Board Chair Kaseem Ladipo.
Parents were first informed of the school possibly closing in February, but the board delayed their vote after hearing parents’ outcry to keep the school open. Parents and teachers had until March 17 to raise $250,000 in hopes of saving their school.
In an email to parents in March, the principal announced that they had an anonymous person willing to pledge more than $1 million to save the school, but in that email the principal said “the donation is contingent upon board action.” The principal, who is on paid administrative leave, stormed into the meeting Thursday to express her outrage.
Parents said in order for the donation to go through the board had to resign. The board chair said after several conversations with the district and the donor representative, it just ended up not being what everyone wanted it to be.
“Contrary to popular belief the board wants to do what is in the best interest of the school and if there was an opportunity that included the board having to make a decision about the board that did not impact our charter then the board would have definitely strongly considered it,” said Ladipo.
Parents believe that they had the money to the save school in that donation adding that their children should not suffer because of someone else's greed.
“At least March 17th we still had time to get our children in other charter schools now where will our kids go they have no plans no anything nothing,” said Renee Sewell.