Einstein Academy announces plans to close charter school

Signal file photo Parents pick up their kids from Albert Einstein STEAM Academy in Valencia on Friday, March 16, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

An Einstein Academy official announced Wednesday the school would be relinquishing its charter to the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District effective June 30.

“While I was hopeful that a financial partner could be established and a plan could be developed to sustain operations next year it became clear last week that this would be an insurmountable feat,” according to a letter sent to parents of students attending Albert Einstein Academy of the Letters, Arts and Science which was shared with The Signal. “With this in mind, the AEALAS board voted last Thursday to surrender all charters to the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District effective June 30, 2018. AEA and AADUSD will continue to work together to allow the students to complete the year in the current schools and then transition for their new school in the coming year.”

The district also announced plans to withdraw its charter petition to the William S. Hart Union High School District, which the school was expected to seek Wednesday night at the district’s regular governing board meeting.

Representatives from the surrounding districts, and charter schools, will be on campuses later this month to ensure a smooth transition for all of our students — an announcement with more information will be forthcoming,” the letter stated.

The move follows years of concerns about the charter school’s finances, which had been questioned by the Newhall and Saugus Union school districts, both of which had turned down Einstein Academy for charter school approval.

The Hart district, which approved a charter for Einstein Academy’s high school more than four years ago, denied the renewal of the charter for the high school, citing concerns about the school’s financial structure.

Last year, the Hart district board unanimously denied Einstein Academy’s five-year renewal petition due to concerns about the charter school’s governing structure and finances, which included two delinquent audits, $4 million in deficits and negative working capital of more than $3 million.

“Our concern is not with the academic structure but the financial structure and governance structure,” Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht said at the Hart Board meeting March 1, 2017.

Nearly a year after the Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences closed its doors to students in grades seven to 12, the charter school’s founders had hoped to open a new charter school, called the Einstein STEAM Academy, in the same location.

Those plans were dashed by Wednesday’s letter.

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