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Parents Left Scrambling As Kinston Charter Academy Closes

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Kinston Charter Academy closed Friday leaving parents looking for a new school for their kids.

Kinston Charter Academy sent out a letter to parents and students Thursday notifying them that the school would close its doors due to financial problems.

The school had 189 students in kindergarten through 8th grade and 59 staff members.

Jenna Pettiford has kids at the school and says she was shocked by the decision to close and the short notice they got. She says, " I feel like we should have got more notice. If they was going to close the school, they should've gone ahead and let us know that before we enrolled the kids."

Principal Ozie Hall says, "The Office of Charter Schools wrote a letter to Kinston Charter Academy informing the school of its intent to initiate revocation of the school’s charter. The school received that letter late in the day on August 21, 2013 by certified mail. The school had no notice prior to the 21st of the intent to initiate revocation. The letter from the Office of Charter Schools did not inform us that the 21st would be the last day. The Kinston Charter Academy Board paid the late payments current. Then they met and decided to stay open and challenge the effort to close the school, but subsequently voted to close the school after the negative publicity caused the lender which had agreed to refinance the school’s facilities pulled out because of the negative publicity and risk to the charter. This meant the school would not have sufficient funds to make it thru the year."

Hall says the deficit was $354,000 in 2007. By 2012 they had a $49,000 surplus or positive fund balance.

Pettiford is looking to move her children to Children's Village Academy because she wants them to stay in a charter school.

Hall says on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the academy will be open to answer questions from parents regarding the transition.

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After an uphill battle to clear up financial struggles, Kinston Charter Academy announced they are closing their doors.

Principal Ozie Hall Jr. said September 6th would be the last day of classes due to the school's "lack of financial resources and means to continue operations."

School workers tell WITN classes will be in session Thursday and Friday of this week, though the school has surrendered it's charter.

In a letter sent to parents, Principal Hall asked they immediately enroll displaced students in county public schools or nearby Children's Village Academy, a different charter school in Kinston.

A resolution passed by board members during a special meeting on September 3rd shows the Academy had $354,000 deficit in 2007 and was struggling.

The same resolution states the school managed accrue a surplus of $49,000 in 2012, but low performance and disciplinary challenges made the enrollment numbers dwindle.

In April of this year, the North Carolina Board of Education had delayed a decision whether to close the school.

Kinston Charter Academy will open Monday from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. to answer any questions from parents and aid in the transition.

The Board of Directors is holding a press conference at noon Friday to make an official statement.


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