Sunnyvale Charter School May Be Forced to Close Its Doors

More than 200 students in Sunnyvale might have to find a new school next fall if Spark Charter School is forced to close its doors at the end of the school year.

The school’s request to keep its door open was denied by Santa Clara County’s Board of Education but it plans to appeal that decision with the state. If they win, Spark’s Charter would get renewed for five years but if not, it would shut down.

"I'm going to be going back to a school that is an underperforming school that did not serve my daughter well at all,” said school parent Danelle Oravetz.

Spark first opened in August of 2015 and its Executive Director, Christopher Mahoney, said it was approved for a three-year term. Now in its third year, the director said Santa Clara County's Board of Education performed an audit of the school, checking its academic performance and finances to decide whether or not the school can keep operating.

On Wednesday, the county’s Board of Education voted not to renew the charter school citing “a significant decline in year-over-year student performance for Spark students,” as one reason for the decision.

However, Mahoney said, “When you look at our performance versus those other schools' performances, it's much stronger.”

Also at issue, the charter school’s finances. The Santa Clara County Board of Education arguing spark has "a lack of proficiency in budgeting and cash management,” but the school insists it’s “a clash flow issue.”

Because Spark Charter School had many more students enroll this past year and the money for those kids doesn’t come in until March, Mahoney said that they will have an influx of several hundred thousand dollars.

He said they plan to appeal with the state in May and the state will make its decision that same month. Regardless of the outcome, the school will continue until the end of June.

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