LOCAL NEWS

1,300 Students Wait To Learn If Charter School Will Abruptly Close

May 1, 2019, 6:49 PM | Updated: 6:50 pm

MURRAY, Utah — A Murray charter school could decide tonight whether to close its doors for good, leaving students and parents worried about the final month of school.

The American International School of Utah, situated along I-15 at 4900 South, alerted parents that a vote would happen Wednesday night on whether to close the school and how soon that would happen.

“Really nothing is off the table at this point,” said AISU’s communications director Jordan King. “We are just really fighting our best to do what’s right for our students and staff.”

At issue, King said, is approximately $500,000 of funding that was mismanaged.

“The biggest chunk is some special education funds that were not properly documented,” he said.

The charter school is now in its fifth year. King said the funding issues happened during the first three years of operation and that there has been a complete change of administration since then.

“It’s unfortunate that kind of the mistakes of the past come back to haunt us now,” King said.

The Utah State Charter School Board placed AISU on official warning status in December 2018 citing “concerns with the long-term financial viability” of the school and a “failure to meet academic goals.”

Just under 1,300 students attend AISU and there are approximately 150 employees, King said. Students and parents say they were caught off guard with the possibility that the school could close before the end of the school year.

“My son is a senior,” said Heather Okiishi, who has three children attending AISU. “So when I first got the news my first reaction was like, ‘Okay, so is there graduation? Does he get a diploma?’ I do have a lot of questions.”

“There’s a lot of frantic talk about what’s going on—why it’s happening,” said her son, Muneo, a senior at the school.

One of the school’s PTO presidents says they stand ready to fund raise if it will help save the school.

“It would be devastating,” said Sophia Weiss, the secondary PTO president about the possibility of the school closing. “There’s so much good here.”

The governing board will meet at 8 p.m. KSL will update this story and have more on KSL 5 News at 10 p.m.

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1,300 Students Wait To Learn If Charter School Will Abruptly Close