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Lender sues closed charter school

a child sitting at a desk hunched over his schoolwork
Taylor International Academy
Taylor International Academy website screenshot

Taylor International Academy in Southfield closed abruptly last week, 12 days before the end of the school year, after the school board, the principal and other administrators quit.

But even though the school has been struggling financially, that doesn't mean it's completely broke.

Central Michigan University, which chartered the school, will be getting state school aid payments through August for the school.

Charter School Capital says Taylor International Academy owes it more than $640,000. The lender filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking payment, as well as the appointment of a receiver. 

In a statement, CMU's The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools says:

This legal action is the next step in the process as the wind-down and dissolution of Taylor International Academy begins. The Academy board, prior to their resignation, voted on May 25, 2017 to authorize the appointment of a receiver.
Central Michigan University is not a party to the lawsuit and the University is not obligated to pay any of the Academy’s debts. As fiscal agent for the Academy, we will continue to send state aid funds to the Academy in accordance with the charter contract and the state aid intercept agreement between the Academy and the lender.

It's not clear at this point if the money the state owes the charter school will be enough to pay off the loan. 

More than 300 students attended Taylor International Academy, a charter school for pre-K through 8th grade. CMU says it had already notified the school that it would be closed next year for failure to improve its financial picture, as well as academic performance of the students.

But CMU officials place the blame for the early closure on the private management company in charge of administration and turnaround efforts, Renaissance Schools Services.

The university says it investigated the school after employees of the management company quit, and determined it could not continue operating safely, without administrative staff, through the end of the school year.

Renaissance Schools Services did not return phone calls from Michigan Radio seeking an interview about the situation.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.