Charter high school in Detroit to close on Monday

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Detroit — A charter high school in Detroit will close its doors on Monday to students and staff after its board voted Wednesday that it could not sustain financial operations due to low enrollment.

Delta Preparatory Academy for Social Justice in Detroit abruptly announced that it would close next week.

Detroit’s Delta Preparatory Academy, which opened in 2014 near the Lodge and Mack, will stay open this week through Friday, according to Ron Rizzo, director of charter schools at Ferris State University, the school’s authorizer.

Rizzo said the school remained open on Wednesday. The board met at 8:30 a.m. and voted to cease operations and terminate the charter school contract effective Oct. 1.

The school had 203 students enrolled this school year but only 180 have been attending. State enrollment data shows the school started with 46 students in 2014, increased to 344 students in 2016 and decreased to 291 students in 2017.

"They have been in declining enrollment for the last few years. This year, they are 80 students below budget. The board was concerned they could not stay open," Rizzo said.

Rather than run out of money in the middle of the year, Rizzo said it was in the best interest of students to close now. Students will be offered assistance to enroll in other high schools, he said.

"Everyone acknowledges it is terrible timing, but they wanted to give them the option to go to other schools," he said. "We will do everything possible to get students placed."

Parent Earl Carter said his 17-year-old son showed up for school on Wednesday and was told the school was closing. Carter said he was never given any information as a parent. He also has a 14-year-old at the school.

"I am frustrated like hell about it. I have to find a new school for two kids," Carter said.

"You are hurting our kids because you are trying to save money. You could have waited until the end of the school year. My son is upset he has to start all over. You can't do this to kids. There were kids in school crying," he said.

Rizzo was not certain how many staffers worked at the school.

According to Buddy Moorehouse, spokesman for the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, the school was associated with the Detroit alumnae charter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.