GVSU decides not to reauthorize Kalamazoo charter school

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Grand Valley State University has declined to renew the charter of Kalamazoo's Advantage Academy, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

GVSU cites consistently poor performance and decreasing enrollment as reasons for closing the school. The Gazette reports that the school has met federal Annual Yearly Progress targets for the last two years, and that many believe it should stay open.

"I'd keep (the school) open," said Sharif Shakrani, co-director of Michigan State University's Center for Education Policy, according to the Gazette. "My analysis indicates they're making significant progress. ... Usually you would close a school when it's regressing, but this school is getting better, not worse."

Shakrani developed an analysis of the school's progress that was "carefully reviewed" by the GVSU Charter School Office, according to Ed Richardson, the head of the office.

"Nothing in [that analysis] makes us think that our decision not to renew the contract was incorrect," Richardson said in an e- mailed statement, the Gazette reported.

Kalamazoo Gazette, "Closing of Kalamazoo Advantage Academy a lesson in complexity of charter schools," July 4, 2008

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Charter Schools Don't Need More Michigan Department of Education 'Oversight,'" Aug. 12, 2003