clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A struggling Detroit charter school won’t be back next year

The closure comes at a time when families are already under stress because of the statewide cancellation of in-person classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Detroit Collegiate High School is closing at the end of June, leaving dozens of students to find another school next year.

Parents learned from a letter last week that the school board voted to close the east side charter school, which opened in 2017.

The letter gave no reason for the closure.

“This decision was not easy and by no means is it a reflection of the hard work the current leadership, staff, and students have displayed this year or in years past,” board president Steven Carpenter said in the letter.

Detroit Collegiate High School is the only charter school in Michigan to announce a closure so far in 2020, according to William DiSessa, a spokesman for the state education department.

The closure comes at a time when families are already under stress because of the statewide cancellation of in-person classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m kind of sad,” said Mercedes Lucious, a junior. “I was emotionally attached. It kind of hurts to be split up from our classmates.”

Earneasha Byars, a junior, wasn’t surprised by the closure and said there were signs of trouble at the school, such as high staff turnover and persistent building problems.

She had attended Detroit Collegiate since the ninth grade but recently left to attend Denby High School in the Detroit school district.

Rob Kimball, associate vice president of charter schools at Grand Valley State University, said Detroit Collegiate will continue providing education through the end of the school year and help students transition into a new school.

Grand Valley is the authorizer for the charter school. The university oversees 62 charter schools in Michigan, the majority of which are in Detroit.

The school struggled with enrollment, opening in 2017 with 96 students and growing to 127 the following year, but declining to 105 this school year. Enrollment declines can have a significant financial impact on a school, since Michigan funds schools on a per-pupil basis.

The school’s academic performance was poor. Just 11% of the students who took state exams during the 2018-19 school year were considered proficient in all subjects. That compares to 42% for the state and 17% for schools in Michigan with similar demographics.

Kerri Smith, the interim CEO and president of EQUITY Education, the management company that operated the high school, said it will support students through online learning until the end of this school year.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

Connect with your community

Find upcoming Detroit events