Local News

Cumberland County Charter School To Close For Good

Posted December 13, 2000

— The uncertain future of a troubled Cumberland County charter school is now known. The Oma's Inc. Charter School held an emergency meeting Thursday and made a big decision that will have a lasting effect on teachers and students.

Halfway through its second year, board members decided to shut down Cumberland County's first charter school. The announcement brought tears to teachers' eyes and anger to parents.

"It's a financial problem. They've simply run out of money," says Phil Adkins, the school's lawyer.

Poor budgeting, lack of state funding and low enrollment put the school more than $350,000 in debt. Parents say the people that will lose out the most will be the children.

Erica Thomas' son was a sixth-grader at Oma's. She still has not received her son's end-of-year test scores, and she wonders if she ever will.

"Children are first. That was my main reason for putting my son at Oma's," she says. "This is really going to hurt."

Oma's director Carmella Behrens and another board member was not at the meeting, but Adkins says their vote could not have saved the school that has been plagued with problems from the beginning.

School officials plan to send notes home with students Friday about the closing of the school. Students will have the option of attending Cumberland County schools. Teachers will be paid for the rest of December and receive two weeks of severance pay.

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