Azleway closing, fate of school still up in the air

Azleway closing, fate of school still up in the air

TYLER (KYTX) - Chapel Hill ISD has approved a tentative plan to take over Azleway Charter School, if the Texas commissioner of education doesn't approve another school's request to take it over.

At a board meeting last night, the district's board of trustee's approved a plan to take over the operations of the school's three East Texas campuses in Chapel Hill, Big Sandy and Willow Bend.

Azleway found out in December that its charter was being revoked because of poor financial and academic ratings. The school appealed that decision, but just last week, a judge upheld it.

The school will be officially closing Sunday, and as of now, Trinity Charter School is expected to take over operations. But the education commissioner still hasn't given it the okay.

If the request is denied, beginning Tuesday, Chapel Hill ISD will be put in charge of Azleway's three campuses.

"We have to educate kids that live within our boundaries, and we're ready to do that and we can do that," Chapel Hill Superintendent Donni Cook said.

Cook says the district wanted the plan approved as a backup, just in case the Tecommissioneroner of education doesn't sign off on Trinity Charter School's request to take on responsibility of Azleway.

"We don't see any reason why he wouldn't sign it, but just to be safe, just to be proactive and not reactive if something didn't fall the way that it was expected to fall," she said.

Azleway serves about 150 at-risk boys, from first grade through high school. They have been placed under the care of the Department of Family and Protective Services after being removed from their homes.

"These children have so many changes in their life and there are so many challenges that they face, that the safety that they have in their residential treatment facility setting, we wanted to maintain that," Cook said.

In a statement Friday, Azleway representatives told CBS19:

"Azleway Charter School and Chapel Hill ISD have a long, cooperative, professional relationship, and share a deep love and commitment to the care and education of children. We know that CHISD has a plan in place -- should the need arise -- that will embrace the children of Azleway. For this we are extremely grateful."

Cook says Chapel Hill ISD is hoping for that decision to come from the education commissioner Friday, but in the meantime, it is ready to take over responsibility of Azleway when classes resume Tuesday.



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