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Two Celerity charter schools lose final state appeal, will close this summer

Mike Szymanski | May 12, 2017

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Two charter schools under federal investigation were denied their last chance to appeal their charter petition by the California State Board of Education on Thursday, meaning they will close after the current school year.

The unanimous vote against the two schools marks the end of a frustrating battle that escalated when the school petitions were initially rejected by the LA Unified School District and passed over by the Los Angeles County Board of Education in the wake of an investigation of financial mismanagement involving charges that Celerity still don’t know, said the school’s spokesperson.

The state’s vote “impacts real families – nearly 1,200 underserved students currently receiving an excellent education in a safe learning environment,” according to the statement. He now expects that many of the students and teachers will be absorbed into Celerity’s two other charter schools, Celerity Rolas and Celerity Himalia, that were approved by the state in the fall. LAUSD officials said they will also help find local schools for the students.

The California Charter Schools Association issued a statement that the group will also help the affected families, noting that “it is a tragedy when high quality public educational options, like these two schools, are removed from our public school community.”

As LA School Report previously reported about the federal investigations swirling around the school:

Seven federal agencies united in a raid Wednesday in Los Angeles of a charter school network that oversees high-performing schools but had come under scrutiny for its financial and management practices. The raid of Celerity Educational Group, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, came after an investigation by LA Unified’s own Office of Inspector General as well as reports by the district’s charter schools division concerning fraud, fiscal mismanagement and misuse of public money meant for schoolchildren. The concerns date back to 2015 but shot into the open at a contentious school board meeting in October when two Celerity schools were denied renewal.

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