Charter school in Philadelphia announces immediate closure

PHILADELPHIA - October 11, 2013

In a letter posted on its website, the Solomon Charter School at 12th and Vine in Center City said it is closing Friday and will be closed for the rest of the school year.

The message, attributed to acting CEO and Principal David Weathington, said the school's board of education "spent many hours deliberating about how to keep the school open despite safety concerns and financial instability."

Solomon was chartered by the state as a cyber school, but has been under investigation by the education department for a number of irregularities.

Furious parents showed Action News today some of the problems at Soloman Charter School. Our camera found exposed wires, buckled ceiling tiles as well as mold and water damage. But officials with the school say those were just the beginning of the problems.

Weathington explains, "I started noticing that there were some other issues that were involved, in terms of practices, in terms of fiscal accountability."

Soloman Charter opened in September of 2012 and has an enrollment of nearly 200 students. Principal Weathington was brought in this past May to help the school fall into compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. That's because just a month before he was hired the state decided to revoke the school's charter over questions about if it was truly a cyber school or if it was acting more as a traditional brick and mortar school.

This morning the board voted to stop the legal fight and close it down. Weatherington says that's because the school wouldn't survive another month.

In addition to the closure, today another bomb was dropped on parents - one portion of the school is in the same building as a clinic that treats sex offenders.

The letter also outlined the following procedures for parents:

1) Beginning Monday, October 15, 2013, you will be able to pick-up your child's records between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm

2) Your primary contact person for enrollment, transcripts and report cards is Vincent Williamson, Assistant Director of Student Services 215-825-7691

3) You must also bring all computer equipment back to the school

4) Your contact person for computer return is Josh Block, Technology Specialist at 215-825-7691

5) For other school related issues, your contact person is David Weathington at 267-210-9488.

The letter also mentioned several schools that it said were 'interested in enrolling your children.' Principal Weatherington is also busy trying to help place students in new schools.

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