Tucson charter school suddenly closes
Parents and teachers are left demanding answers
Tucson school suddenly closes Video by kgun9.comvideo
Reporter: Aaron Brackett
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Friday, January 6th seemed like a normal day to first grade student Maricella Rocha until moments before dismissal, she was told she could never come back to the school she loved. Without warning the little girl was handed a letter stating the immediate closure of Old Pueblo Academy.
Richard and Jennifer Rocha had two children enrolled in the school.
"No one contacted me, nothing," expressed a frustrated Richard Rocha. "[My son] was given a letter that stated that they were closing their doors due to budget cuts. I guess there was no funding, I was told by some of the teachers that checks had bounced and they had no funding at all."
Several parents spoke highly of the school and its programs, but many were furious about the sudden announcement. Daniel Blizzard had been bringing his daughter to the school for some time and had noticed improvement in her grades.
"I was devastated because we had been looking for a while for a school like this and to find out they were shut down the day I came to pick her up, I mean they didn't get a warning or anything," said Blizzard. "[Students] were told a couple hours before school got out."
9 On Your Side visited the school to get some answers and after pounding on locked doors, finally came across Principal Ronda McCarthy. She blamed the sudden closure on a lack of funding from the state. McCarthy said the decision to close immediately was under an attorney's advice.
Just days into spring semester, the closure leaves students and teachers wondering what's next. Teacher John Enriguez was visibly shaken by the decision, even days after the announcement was made.
"I just got here today and I'm told that there have been a lot of parents here that are really frustrated and saddened because this was the last stop for a lot of the kids, Enriguez said. I know from previous years, this was the last stop before juvenile correction."
Eileen Sigmund is the President of the Arizona Charter School Association. She tells 9 on Your Side that their recommendation is for charter schools to have at least 200 students to ensure financial stability. Old Pueblo had just over 60 enrolled.