Springfield district to revoke A3 charter

The move allows the school board to take complete control of the Academy.

Posted: Mar. 13, 2018 12:19 AM
Updated: Mar. 13, 2018 5:39 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The Springfield school board on Monday night announced it will revoke the charter of the Academy of Arts and Academics, taking complete control of the school following a sex abuse scandal and the suicide of its director last month.

The district now has oversight of the day-to-day functions and contractual obligations for the rest of the year. The charter will be officially revoked on June 30, to minimize the impact on those graduating. As a charter school, A3 was run by a non-elected governing board, but that governing board will soon be dissolved.

Officials stressed that the school will stay open, and they're attempting to minimize the effect on students. The Springfield School District will assume the contracts of A3 staff members who were not already employees of the district.

A3 will become an alternative program run by the school district but Jenna McCulley, Springfield School District spokesperson, said it is still unknown exactly how the program will operate.

Students at A3 said they are anxious about the uncertainty. They said the program has been beneficial and they hope there aren't any significant changes to the staffing at the school.

Students also said they were frustrated because the actions of a few are not representative of who they are as a whole.

"Mike doesn't represent us. He doesn't represent the school. He doesn't represent the beliefs of anyone at A3. He is not us," Kyla Ramsey, a student at A3 said. "We are not him. We are A3."

Michael Fisher, the director of the high school, was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student beginning in 2006 and continuing for years. Fisher killed himself in early February just days after the allegations surfaced.

READ MORE: Investigation continues into Springfield director
RELATED: Director of Springfield school commits suicide, the investigation will continue

The school district will hold meetings in April to get feedback from students, staff, and community members about what the program will look like next year, once the charter is officially revoked.

"Be on the lookout to join us at those meetings," McCulley said. "People that are really concerned and are dedicated to the experience they have had there, we are hopeful they will join us at the meeting to really talk about what the future would look like as an alternative program."

Superintendent Susan Rieke-Smith sent out a letter to A3 families alerting them of the charter being revoked.

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