Richard Milburn Academy to close, Lee Alternative High to remain open
Decision day for the Lee County School Board, as members decide the fate of two charter high schools. Video by fox4now.comvideo
FORT MYERS, Fla. - whether to close two lee charter high schools was introduced during last week's meeting. tonight, just one survived... the other is closing tonight.
"The main concern right now is just making sure there's a smooth transition now for all their students," said Sarah White, the principal of City of Palms Charter High School.
School starts Wednesday. By then, most of its 100 students will know where they're going instead. One option is City of Palms Charter High School about a mile away.
"We would just very quickly have to manage an influx of students," added Amy Rohmer, the business manager of City of Palms Charter High School.
Problems for the school started when the district uncovered it was awarding diplomas to students who didn't meet graduation requirements.
"The overall agreement would voluntarily close Richard Milburn Academy immediately and in fact that process is already underway voluntarily," said Dr. Joseph Burke, the Lee County Superintendent.
Voluntarily because the academy responded to district allegations with this proposal: to transfer some of its students to Lee Alternative Charter High, in Lehigh Acres. A school also on the chopping block if it doesn't meet district standards.
"Our hope would be that they would meet all the compliance requirements that we have asked for," added Dr. Burke.
But Richard Milburn typically serves older students like 20-year-old Uniqua Sturgis
"They're helping me to succeed and that's what i need," said Sturgis. "No other school can give me that right now due to my age."
Sturgis and other students must be carefully matched so they graduate.
"I want to make sure those students don't drop out or we have some type of contingency plan in place to place them in appropriate schools," emphasized school board member Don Armstrong.
A promise City of Palms faculty hope will be seamless.
"We carry a very similarly curriculum," said White. "We're a standard diploma high school, we're SACS accredited as well, so we will be able to offer them everything they received at their previous school."
And there will be meetings at the Richard Milburn Academy in Fort Myers on Wednesday. An opportunity for parents and students to be placed in alternative programs. Those meetings happening at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.