Troubled I.F. charter school to close

The troubled Odyssey Charter School will close its doors Friday, after school leaders decided not to fight to get its charter reinstated.

Thursday night’s board decision caps a tumultuous week for the year-old Idaho Falls charter school, and the 100 or so students still attending Odyssey.

On Wednesday, the state’s Public Charter School Commission voted to revoke the school’s charter, over the objections of parents, staff and students who pleaded on Odyssey’s behalf. Supporters said the school had brought in a new business manager and administrator and had taken steps to correct past mistakes, but the commission said Odyssey had failed to make adequate progress on the two-year process of obtaining accreditation.

But when Odyssey closes its doors at 5 p.m. Friday, that doesn’t necessarily end the story. Odyssey board members have recommended that parents elect a new board that can write a new charter.

“It was a hard decision for the board to make,” said board chairperson Carrie Reynolds, according to KIFI and KIDK TV in Idaho Falls. “We thought allowing the parents to have a fresh start to create a new charter would be better than them having to fight the problems from last year.”

The decision leaves about 100 students in limbo — and they may face challenges transferring to a traditional high school. The Idaho Falls School District has said it will accept credits from Odyssey students, but only as electives and only for students who earned at least a “B,” while the Bonneville School District will not accept credits from Odyssey students. A traditional school is not obligated to accept credits from a non-accredited school.

Odyssey opened its doors a year ago to nearly 200 sixth- through 10th-graders.

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