STEAM Academy

... The State Board of Education on Thursday accepted the voluntary relinquishment of the operating charter that allowed the STEAM Academy of Winston-Salem to operate.

The Winston-Salem school has seen its enrollment plunge by more than 70 percent over the last seven years while the school's debts skyrocketed. Its operators are voluntarily giving up the charter.

Last month, it was reported that the school's general fund was more than $700,000 in debt. Reports from as far back as April 2011 show the school was in financial trouble.
The school had a funded average daily membership, or enrollment, of 102 students, compared to 153 in 2010-2011 and 379 in 2006-2007...

About four dozen charter schools have been disbanded since the mid-1990s, when they started operating free of many of the rules governing most public schools.


“STEAM Academy in financial trouble.” Winston-Salem Journal (NC), 3/11/2013

A Winston-Salem charter school is once again in hot water with the State Board of Education.

State officials are questioning whether downtown’s STEAM Academy has enough money to keep the doors open for another year. A report presented to the board last week shows the school’s general fund is more than $700,000 in the hole. The school added more than half a million dollars in debt in just the last year.

According to the state board’s report, there is substantial doubt about the school’s ability to continue. The school has been placed on disciplinary status for financial noncompliance. It is the most serious stage of financial warning. According to state board policy, schools may be dictated to undergo corrective action or even have their charter revoked...

It’s not the first time the STEAM Academy’s finances have been called into question. Concerns about academic performance, governance and financial solvency have plagued the school for several years. State Board of Education reports from as far back as April 2011 show the school struggling financially. A sharp drop in enrollment is causing many of the school’s problems, Medley said...

The STEAM Academy opened as the Downtown Middle School in 1997. Its charter was renewed for another 10 years in 2007. The school changed its name to the STEAM Academy, emphasizing its curriculum focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts and math in 2011 as an attempt to rebrand and combat declining enrollment. The school originally did not report the name change to the State Board of Education and was put in governance noncompliance for not seeking approval first. The name change was subsequently approved, as was a contract with the Mosaica, a national company brought in to oversee the school.


The principal of STEAM Academy, a Winston-Salem charter school facing a do-or-die set of standardized tests this spring, was fired in 2009 after a Virginia state investigation blamed her in a testing scandal there...

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