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State recommends closure of troubled Bronx charter school

Though the Kingsbridge Innovative Design Charter School is less than a year old, state education officials have decided they have seen enough of its finances to recommend the school’s closure.

In a letter sent to the charter school’s founder and board earlier this week, state officials wrote that after putting the school on probation and reviewing its finances, they believe it should close at the end of this year. Ever since the school’s delayed opening in September, it has struggled to pay rent and cover the costs of educating its 150 students. According to a report on WNYC, the school laid off 11 teachers it could no longer afford.

Back in April, Julio Cotto, the school’s founder and executive director, told the Wall Street Journal that his school did not deserve to be closed.

“Our financial challenges are similar to those of any charter school moving into a private space in the first year,” he told the paper.

Officials from the New York State Education Department did not agree. In a letter to Cotto and the school’s board, Deputy Commissioner John King and Charter School Office Director Cliff Chuang wrote that they don’t believe the school has proved it can stay afloat financially even through the remainder of this school year. Their letter states:

“… the Department has concluded that nothing contained therein materially alters the Department’s decision to continue to pursue summary revocation of the School’s charter.”

Kingsbridge was authorized in January 2010 by the New York State Education Department. The Board of Regents will vote on whether to close the school at a meeting on May 16.

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