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Imani Education Circle Charter School will close next month

The board of trustees decided not to appeal a Charter Appeal Board decision.

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Imani Education Circle announced Wednesday that the board of trustees had voted to close the charter school next month.

The school had been considering contesting the ruling from the Pennsylvania Charter Appeal Board that affirmed the School Reform Commission’s decision not to renew its charter.

Citing financial and academic shortcomings, the SRC voted 4-1 in November 2014 to close the school, after a series of hearings in which the charter had the opportunity to plead its case. Commissioner Sylvia Simms cast the dissenting vote.

At the time, school officials were confident that the charter would ultimately be upheld by the state.

“We will go through the appeal process and will be fine,” said then-CEO Francine Fulton after the vote. “I have no fear the state will deny our charter.”

The SRC originally voted not to renew the charter in May 2013, so it has taken three years for the appeals process to run its course.

A statement on the Imani website from December 2015 announces that the state Charter Appeal Board denied its bid to stay open and tells parents that the school will appeal the decision to Commonwealth Court. This most recent announcement indicates that the school has decided not to pursue that option after all.

“We are very disappointed that Imani is closing, yet hopeful that the foundation we have invested in our children will lead them into a brighter future,” current CEO Kimberly Clark said in a statement.

The school will officially close June 22 and will not reopen in the fall. One of the oldest charters in the city, the Germantown school first opened in 1999, and this year it has an enrollment of 450 students in grades K-8.

The school’s press release states that officials are working with the District to place their students in other schools next year.

This effort will be made more difficult by other school closings in recent years in the Germantown neighborhood, including Fulton Elementary.

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