The Texas Education Agency is ordering Arlington's Metro Academy of Math and Science to shut down because of low academic accountability scores and poor financial performance.
The TEA issued its order July 1, after the academy received academically unacceptable ratings for three of the past four years, plus three years of substandard financial reports. It lists $999,286 in debt for operating loans.
"Given the totality of the circumstances given here, the best interest of the students would not be served," TEA Commissioner Robert Scott wrote in a 24-page summary outlining Metro's problems and giving his reasons for revoking the charter. "It is time to close this program."
School administrators have requested a hearing with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, the latest in a series of last-minute attempts by the school to win a reprieve. The last appeal was May 18.
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Darryl Killen, the academy's superintendent and charter board president, could not be reached Wednesday. Repeated phone calls to the school seeking comment also went unanswered.
The academy, at 1111 Gibbins Road, opened Aug. 15, 1995 as Metro Christian Academy and was founded by Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington. It became Metro Charter Academy and received a state open-enrollment operating charter. Mount Olive co-signed the academy's million-dollar loans and is equally liable for repaying the lender, which is Frost Bank.
Originally planned for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, Metro last year served 359 children in kindergarten through eighth grade. School officials proposed a corrective plan this spring to scale back to kindergarten through sixth grade and initiate layoffs.
Killen has previously said that the school's limited finances have forced it to hire inexperienced faculty. He said that issue, coupled with the troubled academic background of many of the students, and has been difficult to overcome.
State officials began proceedings to revoke the school's accreditation and charter in February. A state conservator has been appointed to oversee the closure process.
"The charter has been ordered revoked and we are proceeding with our process for closing the charter," said DeEtta Culbertson, a TEA spokeswoman.
The picture is not as final for Jean Massieu Academy, 823 N. Center St., an Arlington charter school that primarily serves deaf students.
Jean Massieu has also had low accountability test scores
The TEA has placed it on accredited-probation for the 2010-11 school year, which means it must take specific actions to notify parents and the public of its status, and must hire professional monitors to oversee the administration of accountability tests at the campus.
The academy has two state-appointed conservators.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657