Goodyear charter suddenly closes, leaves families scrambling

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: GreatSchools.org) (Source: GreatSchools.org)
(Source: DiscoveryCA.org) (Source: DiscoveryCA.org)
GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Goodyear charter school has officially -- and suddenly -- closed its doors, leaving families scrambling to find places for their students in the middle of the school year.

Students arrived at Discovery Creemos Academy charter school, also known as Bradley Creemos Academy and Bradley Academy of Excellence, Tuesday to find the doors locked and nobody on hand to explain why.

A letter posted on the school’s website announced "classes at our school are suspended indefinitely, effective immediately.

["WE ARE DEEPLY SORRY" Click here to read the entire letter]

“We are terribly pained to find ourselves in this unfortunate situation and, most importantly, the potential negative effect this may have on you, your families and our students,” the letter reads. “The school has exhausted all of its operational and financial resources in order to survive over the last couple of years and, tragically, we simply cannot keep up.”

"I’m upset that the school closed," sixth-grader A.J. McMullen said. "I feel it’s unfair but my dad has already told me that life isn’t fair."

The online letter, which is signed “School Leadership,” also mentions threats and harassment to which “several key staff members” have been subjected.

"These kinds of harassments and threats create a great deal of instability, fear, and uncertainty for the future.  While we truly wish we could stand and fight another day, we simply cannot."

Maria Hechanova reached out to the school's top leader, Daniel Hughes. He referred Arizona's Family back to the posted letter.

The problems at the school apparently are not new. 

“One teacher said in a meeting last week that she believes the school is cursed,” the letter continues. “While we don’t know that to be true, there certainly has been a pattern of extreme challenges that seem beyond the norm. Given this reality, it’s best we all free ourselves from the perpetual cycle of try and fail and give new opportunities a chance to enhance our lives.”

According to GreatSchools, served nearly 450 K-8 students.

“This school is rated below average in school quality compared to other schools in the state. Students here perform below average on state tests, and this school has below average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students.”

A.J.'s mom is frustrated with how the situation was handled and says she is finished with charter schools.

"I will never put my child in another charter school again ... because they are financially unstable," Stephanie McMullen said.

And then there are the practical concerns.

"I’m afraid he’s going to be behind and other kids like him are going to be behind," McMullen said. "It’s not right. Teachers are out of work, too."

Preschool teacher Michelle Miller is one of them.

"For all the hard work that we’ve done all year long, it’s heartbreaking that they would do something like this to us," she said as she held back tears. 

She says she has no idea what she's going to do.

Arizona's Family learned that the Avondale Elementary School District has offered to enroll former Creemos students quickly. The phone number there is 623-772-5000.

Bradley Creemos Academy said it will be responding to requests for students’ records as they come in from the children’s new schools. Those school will need to email schoolleadership@andwedo.org.

The agency that governs Arizona's charter schools, the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, said it takes closures like this seriously and will consider taking away the charter holder's ability to operate any other charter school in the state.

According to ASBCS, the school opened July 1, 2003, with the following mission statement: 

"Bradley Academy of Excellence is dedicated to providing an extensive, enriching, competency-based, relevant educational program that allows each student to experience academic success, appreciate diversity, and develop their personal and social skills. Our highest priority is to recognize the uniqueness and potential within each child and to plan a program of instruction that accelerates their learning and personal growth."

If Bradley Creemos Academy sounds familiar, the school made headlines last March when one of its vans rolled over. All 10 students on board were wearing seat belts; none of them was seriously injured.


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