Former Pappas school re-opens as charter under new name

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School will have same staff, programs

PHOENIX - After years of fighting to keep their doors open the Thomas J. Pappas schools closed in June but are now back by popular demand.

The school re-opens Monday as a charter school called "Children First Academy." What would have been Pappas' 20th year is now instead the first year for "Children First Academy" and it seems the only difference is the name. That is a relief for those who have been close to the school for years.

The last day of school was in June, but Sequoia Charter schools stepped in rescuing the Phoenix and Tempe campus' and it changed nothing but the name. Thus Children's First Academy was born, only with the same staff and programs from Pappas. With help from community donations these schools will continue what Pappas started by reaching out not only to the students but to their families as well.

When the Pappas School was ordered to shut down last year following court battles and controversy over financial woes the future looked bleak. So far some 450 kids are enrolled at the two campuses and administrators expect that number to grow. Unlike the Pappas schools, Children First Academy is widening its enrollment to embrace not only the homeless but anyone looking for an alternative education.

The charter schools are now renting their buildings from the county so they do not have as much space as before. For now they are limited to only Kindergarten through 6th grades. Also the county no longer provides bus transportation but again the school got lucky with someone donating $100,000 to buy the school its own buses.