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White Hat to close Akron elementary school

By Doug Oplinger Published: April 15, 2014

By Doug Livingston
Beacon Journal education writer

The board of directors at an Akron charter school that White Hat Management operates has decided to close the K-8 school at the end of the academic year, citing financial concerns brought on by low enrollment.

Brown Street Academy opened this school year after another charter, also operated by White Hat, closed last year on the same site at 1035 Clay St.

The previous school, called Hope Academy Brown Street Campus, closed last June, along with many other charter schools that filed a joint lawsuit in 2010 against White Hat.

The schools have asked White Hat to provide details about how the private company used public funding. The company, through contracts with each of its more than 30 charter schools in Ohio, controls more than 90 percent of the public tax funding the schools receive. The money is used to purchase materials, pay rent, hire teachers and pay other expenses.

In March, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. A decision is not expected for several months.

After the previous Brown Street school board’s contract with White Hat expired in June, the board moved to 2199 Fifth St. in Akron and changed the school’s name to Colonial Preparatory Academy. That board has hired Cambridge Education Group, a Florida-based private company created by a former White Hat employee, to manage daily operations.

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