Parents Panicked By Cyber Charter School's Sudden Closure - KMSP-TV

Parents Panicked By Cyber Charter School's Sudden Closure

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PHILADELPHIA -

A Philadelphia K-11 cyber charter school closes its doors with little warning. And only FOX 29 was there to report the reactions.

The State Department of Education has been trying to revoke the charter of Solomon Cyber Charter at 12th and Vine since March. However, the revelation that led to today's announcement that the school will surrender its charter and close its doors almost immediately will blow many away.

"How can you tell a parent that there's nothing you can do about their future?!?"

Only FOX 29 was on hand for the pandemonium that broke loose when parents learned that their kids' school was closing its doors, effective at the end of this month.

"No type of warning," said Solomon parent Yolanda Wade. "We bring our kids to school Monday; they say the school is shut down…it's closing for good, so, what are we to do?"

Solomon has long been accused by state regulators of bending the rules of how a cyber-charter must operate. Since its opening last school year, the facility has been plagued by problems including questions about teacher certifications, late-paid employees and even mold-infestation.

But what was the deal-breaker?

It turns out that the building a few doors down, into which Solomon expanded this September, houses a clinic for sexual and pornography offenders. You can find it on the Assessment and Treatment Alternatives website.

"How do you not know there's a sex offender clinic in the building right when you get in here?" asked Bruce Gordon.

"Well, there's a separation between the floors, so there's nothing indicating that I know of, that will tell you," replied David Weathington, another parent. "As soon as I found out, we addressed it immediately and said, ‘oh no,' because I wouldn't want my child educated in a building where there's a sex offender clinic. Not happening."

"You have a sex offender, sex offenders, that's walking in and out of the same building as my son walks in and out of to go to school. I don't feel comfortable with that at all," Neremiah Jenkins, another parent agreed.

Now, the parents of more than 400 displaced students must find other accommodations, more than a month into the school year.

"How can you tell a parent that there's nothing you can do about their future-- about their children's future??!!" exclaimed a woman.

Solomon officials say they'll work with parents to get their kids into new schools as soon as possible. In some cases, that may mean going back to the public schools that they fled to get to Solomon in the first place.

"So they took them out of public school because it was overcrowded. We come here, now we don't have nowhere to go but back to public school," said Fredderick Hooks, another Solomon parent.

There's one man that many parents are blaming for this fiasco.

"I'm just… I'm one employee out of a whole cast of characters," he said.

In fact, he's the Executive Director.

"I've done nothing wrong," said Jesse Klapholz. "I haven't done anything wrong."

"What was your title here?" asked Gordon.

"Executive Director."

"Executive Director doesn't sound like just another employee."

"There are all sorts of false allegations going on here that are unfounded..."

"You know exactly what you did to our kids!!!" a woman says to Klapholz. "Why shock us in the middle of, just like that?!"

Klapholz was second-in-command at Solomon. He insists he had for months, rung the alarm bell about problems at the school. As for the allegations that he took money from Solomon?

"That's totally untrue," he told FOX 29. "It would be ridiculous of me to do that, and it's all going to come out in the audit."

FOX 29 and Bruce Gordon will keep you posted about what happens to this whole fiasco.

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