Despite community outcry, the Public Charter School Board last week voted unanimously to close the doors of the Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers Public Charter School, an Afrocentric charter school in Washington, D.C. However, even as KIMA follows the footsteps of a handful of sister facilities that had their charters revoked, its officials vowed to fight the decision.

“We’re actually in today requesting a stay so that our charter revocation is investigated,” KIMA academic officer Dawn Stewart said in an Aug. 17 interview with the AFRO.

Pressed for details leading to the closing, Stewart refrained from providing specifics, but referred to the PSCB’s website, where an explanation has been posted.
According to the board, an analysis of the school’s performance over the past decade led to a lack of faith in its leadership. The decision was also based on adherence to the School Reform Act, which lays out the standards and process that would lead to a charter’s revocation.

Board Chairman Brian Jones explained prior to the vote that it had provided “at least three years of recommendations for improvement and support” to KIMA’s board of trustees over issues that included the curriculum, instruction and truancy.

“We looked at the school’s standardized test scores over the years and believe the dismal academic results are indicative of the school’s overall lackluster performance,” Jones said in a statement explaining the board’s decision.

KIMA is the latest among six facilities from which charters have been withdrawn in the past two years. In addition, 10 other schools, in an attempt to avoid revocation, have voluntarily relinquished their operations after failing to perform to standard.

The charter system currently operates 53 schools on 95 campuses throughout the District, and, after the D.C. Board of Education relinquished oversight in 2006, the PCSB assumed exclusive authority to review and approve petitions to establish public charter schools in the city. Established in 1996 as an alternative to the District’s troubled taxpayer-supported schools system, the facilities serve about 38 percent of the city’s public school students. The schools also receive $8,770 in public funds for each student.