Restraining order keeps Ark Community Charter School open - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Restraining order keeps Ark Community Charter School open

Posted: Updated: May 09, 2014 06:03 PM

TROY, N.Y. – The state Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order Friday to keep Ark Community Charter School open.

The school had previously filed a petition in state supreme court in an effort to keep the school open.

The Ark Community Charter School had its operating license renewal denied in a 2-1 vote by the state earlier this year.

Parents and students have rallied for the past few months to keep the school open. Tracey Francis has three kids who go to Ark.

“I think they should be permanently blocked from being shut down,” she said.

Emmanuel Francis and his younger sister Desmaria love going to class.

“They teach you stuff in fun ways,” Emmanuel said.

“The teachers are fun, and they actually care about the students,” Desmaria said.

Tracey loves how the school works with her kids and allows her to be an active part of their school education.

“No other school offers that,” she said.

The SUNY Charter School Board of Trustees said the school did not meet the performance standards it agreed to when it was chartered. School leaders strongly disagree with that argument.

“The clear facts, we feel, that they were all just brushed aside,” Executive Director and Principal Dr. Mary Theresa Streck said.

The petition claims that data was submitted retroactively skewing results. Ark said the use of Common Core standards to evaluate the school’s performance was unfair.

The plaintiffs said there’s a conflict of interest claiming the charter schools institute’s executive director was a founding member of a competing charter school, True North Troy Preparatory Charter School.

They said True North was up for renewal at the same time as Ark and would benefit from Ark’s closure.

The board of trustees issued a statement earlier in the week stating, “The process used to make the determination was completely open to the public and consistent with both SUNY and national charter school standards and protocols.”

Streck said the school is ready to plead its case in court and added Friday’s court order has given them a glimmer of hope.

“We feel that for our parents and for our children, it is truly a gift,” she said.

The judge who issued the temporary restraining order scheduled oral arguments for June 19. If the Ark wins its case, the school will find itself back in front of the same three member board that initially voted to close the school.

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