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Local charter school prepares for closure

(KOKH)

A local charter school will soon be closing its doors after only four years in operation.

Harper Academy Charter School received a letter from the Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education on March 27 notifying staff that the school’s contract would not be renewed. It’s a decision that was reached in a 7-0 vote.

The letter lists several concerns and rates the school unsatisfactory in six of the eight taken up for consideration in the contract renewal process.

Principal Nancy Camp says the decision has been difficult to accept.

"The sad part about it is that, you know, our students are the most under-served and they may not have an opportunity,” Camp said.

Most of the 127 students currently enrolled at Harper are considered high risk. Camp says they came to the school in hopes of receiving a second chance. Fortunately, 75 percent of them are expected to graduate before the school closes. That leaves about 35 to 40 students who will be forced to transfer elsewhere

"Hopefully most of them will go to their home school but a few have requested to go to Emerson, which is an alternative school owned by Oklahoma City. And then, of course, Seeworth,” Camp said.

Camp says she can't help but think of all the things that could've been done differently to save Harper. But she finds peace in knowing the school did make a difference during its four years in existence.

"I have at least 10 that I know have been accepted to college this year and are going to go,” Camp said. “And, if Harper had not been here, they would not have had that opportunity."

As for future proceedings, OKCPS said the following in a statement issued Tuesday:

"We are currently working with our auditors and Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC) to ensure that all proper procedures are followed in the closing process. OKCPS continues to improve our oversight processes for all charters."

Harper's contract officially ends June 30, 2017.

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