Less than three weeks into the school year, a new Charlotte charter school has shut down.
The sudden closure of Concrete Roses STEM Academy leaves familiies for the school’s 126 students scrambling to find new schools, while taxpayers may have lost the $285,170 in funding sent to the school that went belly-up this week.
The school had its funding frozen by the state after the school failed to submit required financial forms.
The school’s website hasn’t been changed to reflect the closing at the end of the week. On Friday morning, it still had up forms accepting applications for attendance.
Here’s more from the Charlotte Observer:
The state charter school office sent a letter to Concrete Roses STEM dated Sept. 17 that said its funding was being frozen.
It stated that the school did not report its expenditures for the months of July and August, in violation of state law. The letter also said the school had already spent $285,170 of its allotment from the state.
The letter said the school would not be allowed to spend any more money until its enrollment was resubmitted and funding recalculated. Based on its current attendance, the school would have been eligible for significantly less money.[CEO Cedric] Stone was to receive a salary of $95,000, according to a budget presented to the state. It is unclear how much he received before the school closed.
Medley said there is no indication that Concrete Roses STEM did anything improper.
“Whenever you start something brand new, it’s a difficult enterprise. Sometimes things happen where schools close. Closing 17, 18 days into the school year is not ideal, but if you see that there are potential financial issues down the road, it is better to deal with that early,” Medley said
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It appears education officials expressed some concerns about Concrete STEM Academy’s ability to budget when it was going through the application process.
A evaluation rubric conducted by the state’s Charter School Advisory Committee raised questions about the viability of the school’s budget, including a $95,000 salary paid out to the school’s administrator, Cedric Stone, who was also listed as the school board’s chairman.
“Salaries are high–therefore if trying to make significant impact then lower the salaries of administrators and pay higher salaries for high value teachers,” wrote Robert Landry, one of the members of the state charter school committee.