New Media Technology Charter School, which has had a troubled history, has announced that it will close in June rather than continue to fight to remain open in the face of allegations of poor test scores and financial problems.
It will be an ironic end for a charter that opened in 2004 with initial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and promises to teach students digital media skills.
But the school later made headlines when its founding board president and founding CEO were sent to prison on federal fraud charges.
The school, at 8034 Thouron Ave., enrolls 481 students from sixth through 12th grades.
The board that oversees the school voted at its meeting this month to dissolve the school as of June 30, surrender its operating charter, and forgo an appeal to the state Charter Appeal Board.
"The School Reform Commission received confirmation that the board of trustees of New Media Charter School has voted to close the school in June, 2016," SRC Chair Marjorie Neff, said in a statement Tuesday. "The district is working closely with the school to ensure that all of New Media's students are able to transition smoothly into new schools in September. This is a difficult time for New Media's families and students and we hope to help in every way possible."
A notice outlining the plan was posted on the school's website to help parents find new schools in the fall.
District spokesman Fernando Gallard praised New Media for working closely with the district and making sure New Media parents and students have time to make plans for the next year.
According to the district, the board decided to close after it was unable to find a turnaround operator to take over the school's management.
Neither Reuben F. Mills, the school's CEO, nor board president Wanda Bailey-Green could be reached for comment.
New Media is one of a handful of city charters where teachers are unionized. Ted Kirsch, president of AFT Pennsylvania, said that the staff had worked hard under difficult circumstances and that the union would help as they look for new jobs for the fall.
The SRC began the process of closing New Media in 2014 when it voted not to renew the school's five-year operating charter.
The SRC cited several reasons, including poor academic performance, financial problems, and failure to provide students with the rich technology New Media had promised in its application.
After a public hearing, the SRC took a final vote last November to deny the school a new charter.
In 2010, the SRC required New Media to replace Hugh C. Clark, the founding board president, and Ina Walker, the founding CEO, after the Inquirer reported allegations of financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest.
A federal grand jury indicted Walker and Clark in 2011. Both went to federal prison after admitting they stole $522,000 in taxpayer money to prop up a restaurant, a health-food store, and a private school they controlled, and for defrauding a bank.