Originally Published: March 5, 2018 5:58 a.m.
PHOENIX — A charter school in a Phoenix suburb has lost its state license after it abruptly closed last month, leaving dozens of teachers without jobs and more than 100 students without a school.
The Arizona Board for Charter Schools on Monday revoked the charter for Discovery Creemos Academy in Goodyear.
Daniel Hughes, the school’s president and CEO, has lost his ability to operate charter schools in the state due to the license revocation.
The state board had renewed the school’s charter for at least 20 more years in June despite ongoing concerns that it was failing both financially and academically.
The school, previously named the Bradley Academy of Excellence, had consistent low state test scores. It also had a deficit of more than $3 million in net assets in June 2016, according to an audit reviewed by the state board last year.
As the school was struggling, Hughes had given himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursements for school purchases and other payments for amounts due, according to 2015 tax records
The school was under investigation for more than a year, but the board did not have enough evidence to intervene before Hughes closed it, board President Kathy Senseman told The Arizona Republic. Senseman said the board was working with the state Department of Education and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to collect that evidence.
Senseman said the board had few options when it renewed the charter last year. The board can close charter schools that violate the law or chronically fail academically, but it doesn’t have the authority to shut down a school solely for financial reasons.
Hughes had not responded to the newspaper’s multiple requests for comment.