State trying to shut down Oklahoma’s newest virtual charter school

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It’s our state’s newest virtual charter school, but now the state wants to shut it down.

Hailey Shehorn, 14, just finished her first school year with ABLE Virtual Charter, a school which has only been in existence for one school year.

She turned to the online school after struggling with anxiety and bullying at her Yukon school.

“It was because of bullies and like mean people.  You can get yourself sick and you don’t want to go to school because you’re scared the person’s going to be there,” said Shehorn.

Her mom says the experience with the virtual charter school has been great.

“She got individualized attention.  If she struggled in an area, they came out once a week.  They discussed it with her and it was wonderful for her,” said Stacey Smith.

The say they were very upset when they found out the state sent a notice of intent to terminate their contract with the school.

“It just broke my heart because this school is wonderful and it’s done so much to help my daughter,” said Smith.

The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board listed numerous reasons for the termination including financial documents not being maintained properly, not making school data available to the board, failure to comply with the Open Meetings Act and not having the organizational capacity to provide full-time virtual instruction.

All things the superintendent says have been taken care of.

“Open meetings or not having enough board members, well we’ve taken care of all those things as soon as they surfaced.  And so to have all this old information being presented as if we’re not complying throughout the year is incorrect,” said Dr. Kenneth Kuczynski, superintendent of ABLE Virtual Charter School.

Dr. Kuczynski says they are a grassroots organization that was started by four educators. He says they’re targeting kids who have fallen through the cracks.

He feels the state board should be working with them, not trying to shut them down after just one year.

“I don’t think we’ve been treated fairly,” said Dr. Kuczynski.

For now, the future of the school is up in the air.

Shehorn is enrolled for next year and hopes the school board’s decision can be stopped.

Able Virtual Charter School has hired an attorney.

They have a hearing before the Virtual Charter School Board in September.

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