You are here
State orders ex-charter school to stop presenting itself as a charter school
The state revoked the charter of Honors Academy, a network of seven charter schools in the Dallas area, back in June. But you wouldn’t know that from Honors Academy’s website.
“An accredited charter school district of Texas,” it says high on the home page. Lower down: “All of the campuses are open-enrollment public schools.”
So today, the Texas Education Agency is basically telling the former charter school to cease and desist.
“The former charter school known as Honors Academy has continued to operate a de facto private school, but is falsely holding itself out as a public charter school, a violation of the Texas Education Code,” said a news release this afternoon from the Texas Education Agency. The agency said Honors Academy has also refused to turn over student records, which could negatively affect current and former students.
Honors Academy’s campuses include Quest Academy in Dallas, Branch Park Academy in Farmers Branch, and Wilmer Academy in Wilmer. I called Honors Academy for comment and was referred to a lawyer in Austin. I left a message for the lawyer.
Commissioner Michael Williams said he’ll appoint a board of managers to formally shut Honors Academy down as a charter school, obtain student records, and recover any state property. And by “state property,” that means anything that Honors Academy bought with taxpayer funds, such as buildings, desks and chairs, and textbooks.
“Charter schools are funded almost entirely by state funds,” TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said.
The education agency advises parents of current and former Honors Academy students to get copies of their child’s permanent records from the school. If they have difficulty, call the TEA’s charter school division at 512-463-4047.
Teachers who remain at Honors Academy should know that they are no longer contributing toward the state retirement system (Teacher’s Retirement System of Texas) and that this school year does not count toward their years of service in TRS, the TEA said.
The education agency announced last year it would revoke the charters of Honors Academy and five other charter school operators because they had repeatedly failed to meet financial or academic standards. The revocations were required under a new charter school law, known as Senate Bill 2.
“Of those six schools, this is the only one that has failed to comply with directives,” Culbertson said.
Honors Academy fought the closure order in court and lost. The school has until Nov. 21 to appeal Commissioner Williams’ decision to appoint the board of managers.
The school’s website depicts business as usual. It includes an agenda for a board meeting held two nights ago, with a report from board chairman Michelle Metzger and school CEO Hollis Brashear.