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Second school in Houston charter network will shut down

Victory Prep South will close at the end of the school year; the decision comes 2 months after Victory Prep North closed abruptly.

Less than two months after the Victory Prep North charter school in Houston abruptly closed after running out of money, Victory Prep South has notified Houston district officials that it did not have enough money to finish out the school year.

The Houston Chronicle reports that in response, Houston school board voted 7-0 to allocate $300,000 to keep the school open through June. The school will close its doors permanently this summer.

Victory Prep officials notified the district last week of their financial situation.

That surprised board members, who asked why district officials did not investigate the second charter school's budget after the first abruptly closed in February. 

"I was told everything was fine, so imagine my surprise when I found out this campus was closing as well," says board member Jolanda Jones. "There has to be a way for us to monitor them. If we have to bail out a school, we should have some type of oversight." 

The school closures come nearly two years after the Houston district saved the fledgling Victory Prep Charter Network from being shut down by the state.

In 2016, the Texas Education Agency ordered Victory Prep to shut down all of its schools after receiving three straight "improvement required" ratings for poor academic performance. But the Houston school board voted to make Victory Prep an in-district charter, enabling it to stay open.

Under the arrangement, the Houston school district took on some oversight responsibility for the school, but the charter network's nonprofit board retained control over governance.

District officials say the Victory Prep schools and other in-district charter schools are responsible for managing their own operations. They turn in an audit of their finances every school year.

Board members say the district should bolster oversight of charter school contracts in order to avoid similar situations in the future.

TAGS: Funding
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