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PRESS RELEASE REGARDING THE CHARTER REVOCATION OF IMAGINE COLUMBIA LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2017
Taylor Fulcher, Director of Communications
tfulcher@sccharter.org
706-399-8651

South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees Revokes Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy’s Charter

Columbia, South Carolina—During the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD) March 9, 2017 meeting, the Board of Trustees denied the request made by Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy to continue in operation after the close of the 2016-2017 school year.

On December 8, 2016, after recommendations made by the SCPCSD staff, the SCPCSD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to revoke the charter of Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy. The Board of Trustees found Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy had failed to meet academic standards and were not in compliance with their charter expectations.

Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy requested and received a hearing to present their case to the Board of Trustees on March 9, 2017. Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy & SCPCSD were both given an opportunity to present evidence and cross examine witnesses. Following this proceeding, the SCPCSD Board of Trustees voted 4-1 to affirm its decision to revoke. While the closure of a school is not an easy decision and always a last resort—the process was extensive, taken with thoughtful consideration, and made final after a thorough evaluation of evidence that demonstrated poor academic results over multiple years. The SCPCSD Board of Trustees made the resolution to close Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy in the best interest of its students and families who deserve an excellent, high-quality educational option. Superintendent Elliot Smalley is quoted saying, “There is nothing we take more seriously than our responsibility to students, families, and taxpayers to ensure our charter schools offer high quality choices for the children of South Carolina. The days of excuses and chronic failure are in the past. We must never forget charter schools open with a promise of offering something better than what’s provided by traditional schools, and if they fail—and wind up offering something worse—we will take action on behalf of students and families who deserve more.” Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy will remain open until the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy, a public school serving grades K-5 is located in Columbia, South Carolina. The school was founded in 2011 by current Board Chair, Cecil Taliaferro. Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy states its mission is to “partner with parents and guardians in the education of their children by providing high quality schools that prepare students for lives of leadership, accomplishment, and exemplary character”. As of March 2017, Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy has a current enrollment of approximately 129 students.

Charter schools are open enrollment tuition-free public schools. In exchange for certain freedoms, such as the ability to develop their own curriculum and establishing their own standards for student behavior, charter schools must continuously demonstrate that they have earned the right to continue the great privilege of educating the children of South Carolina.

This school year, the South Carolina Public Charter School District oversees 35 public charter schools serving approximately 22,000 students across the state.

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