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Charter School In Philadelphia Abruptly Closes Its Doors

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A charter school in Philadelphia announced Friday, via its website, that it is closing its doors effective immediately due to “safety concerns and financial instability.”

Solomon Charter School, located in the 1200 block of Vine Street in Center City, posted a letter on its website Friday by acting CEO David Weathington.

The letter starts off “it is with regret that I announce the closing of Solomon Charter on October 11, 2013.”

“I was just trying to get him a good education and now I don’t know where he will go,” parent Deyanna Bowen said.

Her son is one of 330 students now looking for a new school. Principal David Weathington tells Eyewitness News Solomon Charter is a cyber-school that requires most of its programs to be online. But instead, students were learning on campus every day.

“The majority of the education has to be in a cyber-situation. The reason why PDE came down on us is because we were running it like a traditional program,” Weathington said.

The State Department of Education was in the process of revoking the charter.  It’s an issue the school has been fighting since March, and now that Solomon ran out of funds, the board decided to give in and close its doors.

“Some of the charter schools that are taking our kids are actually taking our teachers, and the bottom line is, I’m probably the only one who doesn’t have a job,” Weathington said.

According to Weathington, the Solomon Charter Inc. Board of Education spent many hours deliberating about how to keep the school open despite safety concerns and financial instability.

In the end, the Board decided to close Friday for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year.

In order to have an orderly transition during the closing process, the letter outlined procedures that will be in effect.

1) Beginning Monday, October 15, 2013, you will be able to pick-up your child’s records between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.
2) Your primary contact person for enrollment, transcripts and report cards is Vincent Williamson, Assistant Director of Student Services 215-825-7691.
3) You must also bring all computer equipment back to the school.
4) Your contact person for computer return is Josh Block, Technology Specialist at 215-825-7691.
5) For other school related issues, your contact person is David Weathington at 267-210-9488.

The letter said that there are several schools “interested in enrolling your children.”

1) Walter D. Palmer Leadership Academy at 215-627-7434, is accepting students in grades 4th and 9th through 12th.
2) Harambee Charter School at 215-472-3520, is accepting students in grades K through 8th.
3) School District of Philadelphia at 215-400-4000, is accepting students in K through 12th.
4) Act Academy at 855-228-6838, is accepting students in grades 9th through 12th.

“Since the charter school is closing down completely, then the students or families will need to get a hold of those records and have them transferred, or transferred them to another school of where the student will attend, because obviously those records will need to transfer with the student,” Tim Eller, Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesperson said.

Read the full letter.

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