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Press Release Regarding the Charter Revocation of SC Science Academy

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2018
Taylor Fulcher, Director of Communications

South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees Revokes Columbia’s SC Science Academy’s Charter

Columbia, South Carolina—During the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD) May 10, 2018 meeting, the Board of Trustees denied the request made by SC Science Academy to continue in operation after the close of the 2017-2018 school year.

On March 8, 2018, after recommendations made by the SCPCSD staff, the SCPCSD Board of Trustees voted 6-1 to revoke the charter of SC Science Academy with one board member abstaining. The Board of Trustees determined that SC Science Academy had failed to meet fiscal health requirements and academic standards, and were not in compliance with the goals stated in their charter.

SC Science Academy requested and received a hearing to present their case to the Board of Trustees on May 10, 2018. SC Science Academy & SCPCSD were both given an opportunity to present evidence and cross examine witnesses. Following this proceeding, the SCPCSD Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to affirm its decision to revoke with two members abstaining.

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 concerning poor financial health and poor academic results over multiple years. The SCPCSD Board of Trustees made the resolution to close SC Science Academy in the best interest of its students and families who deserve a high-quality educational option.

Superintendent Elliot Smalley is quoted saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we made this revocation recommendation, which is in the best interest of students, families, and taxpayers—each of whom we are responsible to for opening and promising high quality charter schools. We never set out to close a school when we grant a charter, however, we know we must act when we’re seeing severe deficiencies in academic and fiscal health. We wish all the best to the board, staff, and students of SC Science Academy.” SC Science Academy will remain open until the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

SC Science Academy, a public school serving grades 6-11, is located in Columbia, South Carolina. The school was founded in 2013. The school states its mission is “to develop innovative leaders by providing a diverse student body a world-class middle and high school education with a science focus within the core academic courses through emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)”. As of May 2018, SC Science Academy has a current enrollment of approximately 136 students.

Charter schools are open enrollment tuition-free public schools. In exchange for certain freedoms, such as the ability to develop their own curriculum, make their own hiring decisions, and establish 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 39 public charter schools serving approximately 26,000 students across the state.