Kristin Murphy, KSL

State Charter School board acknowledges AISU closure, terminates its charter

By Marjorie Cortez, KSL | Posted - May 9th, 2019 @ 10:15pm



SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Charter School Board on Thursday acknowledged the vote of the directors of American International School of Utah to close the school and voted unanimously to terminate its charter.

The school's board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday evening to close the K-12 public charter school no later than Aug. 15, acknowledging growing concerns about its financial viability, the likelihood of further state scrutiny of its operations and the possibility of additional liabilities.

The decision displaces some 1,300 students and 170 full- and part-time employees.

State Charter School Board member Cynthia Phillips said she wanted the board's records "to reflect our sincere sadness that the governing board of the school and its leaders have had to come to this decision and acknowledge how many students and families are involved in such a decision and how much transition and challenge there is to that."

The school's administrators and directors said they inherited many of the issues that contributed to the school's closure but they dug in because they believed they could correct the school's course.

"While it’s very sad, it’s also quite amazing to see a group of leaders take initiative on something that they themselves did not create but are facing and acting responsibly in light of. That has not gone unnoticed by our board members nor has the impact — emotional, educational and otherwise — gone unnoticed," said Phillips.

"We appreciate the effort, time and consideration that has gone into every single action that the governing board and administration have taken leading up to that decision last night," she said.

Board member Jim Moss said the State Charter School Board had received numerous communications from AISU parents who expressed gratitude for the school's efforts on behalf of their kids.

While the decision to close the school was the right decision, although difficult, "we should acknowledge all of the good done for the kids at the school by a lot of dedicated and caring teachers and administrators. With the school closing, they'll, I'm sure, take that with them. We think this (decision) is wise, somewhat regrettable, but want to make sure we thank all of you who have done good for those kids," Moss said.

Board chairwoman Kristin Elinkowski assured AISU's executive director Tasi Young, board members and administrators "we'll have staff work with you as we go through this transition."

The last day of school at AISU is June 7.

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