Rather than fight the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the beleaguered Frontier Virtual Charter High School will surrender its operating charter.
The cyber charter school's board made the decision during an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon, according to Brian H. Leinhauser, a lawyer who represents the school.
He said Frontier would release a statement Friday outlining its reasons.
Frontier, which has administrative offices at 3020 Market St., has been plagued with financial and management problems since it was launched last fall.
By law, the state Education Department is responsible for overseeing cyber charter schools, which provide online instruction to students statewide in their homes.
Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis filed documents Monday saying he intended to yank the school's charter for failing to deliver education it promised students, violating the state charter-school law, spending taxpayer money on nonschool expenses, and failing to maintain the finances necessary to provide services to students.
Education Department officials said Frontier provided online instruction in 2011-12 to about 90 students in their homes and at learning centers in Philadelphia and Johnstown.
The department had scheduled a July 23 hearing for Frontier in Harrisburg.
But Leinhauser said Frontier's board decided to forgo that option and authorized him to begin negotiating with the state the process of winding down the school and helping students find spots in other schools.
Tomalis praised Frontier's decision.
Thursday's "action is in the best interest of students and provides families sufficient time to make other arrangements for the forthcoming school year," he said in a statement released by the Education Department.
"Over the past year, Frontier fell short in providing its students with the core academic programs parents and students expect of our public schools," Tomalis said. "These issues were not just the normal difficulties typically experienced by a first-year organization, but they go to the heart of Frontier's ability to provide quality educational opportunities to students within the confines of its charter, as well as the charter school law."
The department said its "intensive investigation" had revealed serious problems at Frontier.
Leinhauser said six of Frontier's seven board members participated in Thursday's emergency meeting by phone. All six, he said, voted in favor of suspending operations. The school had posted information about the conference call on its website, including public access information.
Frontier was among 13 cyber charters that enrolled more than 42,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade in the academic year just ended.