11 charter schools close across the state

(Source: WNEM)

Michigan's charter schools are seeing their first year of decline since they began decades ago.

A charter school is a public school that is independently run. That allows freedom from some of the regulations other districts have to follow.

The charter establishing each school is performance contract and the schools have to prove student performance while maintaining an effective budget.

In recent years, Michigan has been criticized for keeping low standards and accountability.

Five new charter schools opened in Michigan this year, but 11 closed across the state. For the first time since 1994, charter schools will see a net decrease from 300 schools last year to 294 this year.

"Fluctuations in enrollment can make a pretty substantial difference," said Kate Scheid Weber, school leader for Francis Reh Academy.

She said the decline could be for a number of reasons, though similar reasons to what would close a public school - test scores, enrollment or failing to meet certain standards.

"They can be closed for a number of factors, academic or financial. And it really depends on the expectations set by that authorizer and the progress that's been made," Weber said.

While 11 charter schools are closing across the state, leaders at Francis Reh said that's not a trend they see at their school.

"Francis Reh is doing really well. It's our 20th year this year. So we're excited about this. Our enrollment has picked up a little from last year. We had some really positive results from the MSTEP exam last year," Weber said.

Weber said there are still improvements that can be made, as is the case with many schools. Overall, she believes the outlook for her charter school is trending up.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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