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CMU makes it official: Michigan Technical Academy to close this summer

a classroom of empty colorful chairs
Flickr user Frank Juarez
Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Michigan Technical Academy will close after more than 10 years in Detroit.

Just before the holiday weekend, Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees made official what parents have known for a while now: Michigan Technical Academy is closing. The pre-k through 8th grade charter school in Detroit has been open for more than a decade.

The state had threatened to close the school in the spring, over persistently low performance on standardized tests.

Keeria Myles says her 8-year-old daughter, Sonja, had only been at the school one year, but loved it.

“She’s upset about it and she feels like it’s her fault,” Myles said.

“I tried to explain to her like ‘look at your report card. This is your final report card. You have A-, A+, like it’s straight A’s so it’s not your fault!”

Myles doesn’t know what school she’ll send her 4th grader to in the fall. She says school officials said for a while that they’d fight to keep the school open but they were told before the end of the school year that it would close. She says she knows test scores had something to do with the closure, but says she wasn’t clear what it would take to save the school.

In a written statement, Janelle Brzezinski, spokeswoman for CMU’s Center for Charter Schools, which authorizes the school, said financial and academic problems led to the revocation of MTA’s charter.

Student enrollment was down to a little less than 900 students, down from more than 1,200 in the 2009-2010 school year, according to the state’s Mischooldata.org website. The general fund balance was less than $200,000 last year, down from $1.3 million in the 2011-2012 school year.

Brzezinski wrote that CMU tried to revamp the school to improve test scores in 2015. It also gave the school board a chance to offer a new plan to stay open next school year. But a panel said the school board did not submit a “workable plan with the best interests of the students in mind,” and recommended CMU’s board revoke the charter.

She says the center is working with parents and other groups to find new schools for former MTA students to attend this fall.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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