SPRINGFIELD (WGGB) — A day after board members made the official announcement that New Leadership Charter School in Springfield was closing, parents are still trying to figure out what to do.
A group met with Springfield mayor Domenic Sarno first thing this morning at his office.
“We were very well received and I felt he was very compassionate about everything that was going on,” said Eutrina Holley, about the mayor’s response to their concerns.
Sarno admits he was moved by their plight, but told them their wasn’t a whole lot he could do. “It was really heart wrenching to see those tears in their eyes but I have no control over the charter schools.” Sarno assured them he’d do all he could to help, but his options are limited.
And while parents understand the city will assist them in enrolling their children in the Springfield school system, they say they are still upset. Specifically, because as Holley maintains, the New Leadership Charter School board never told parents the school was in trouble and on probationary status.
“There was absolutely no communication and they knew that the school was at risk for the past 2 years and that they were under investigation and I feel there could have been more done.”
But the man who’s in charge of charter schools in the state – commissioner Mitchell Chester says he’s had concerns over the school for about 5 years and hasn’t seen any measurable academic improvements to justify renewing the charter.
“Despite the best intentions, at New Leadership not only are the academic results weak, but when we look at the progress that students make from one year to another, that progress is actually low,” said Chester about his decision not to renew the charter.
For parents, the closure isn’t something that can be measured by scores or grades. For them it’s personal.
“It’s not really if the school is funded or if they got low scores,” said parent Ruth Roldan. “It really is what they do for the kids, like they take a personal interest in them.”
A group of New Leadership parents is organizing a meeting for this Saturday night. They say they are hiring lawyers and actually plan on taking over the school at some point in the near future.