CHARTER SCHOOL: State Revokes Charter

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The Des Moines Charter School planned to offer students an alternative, 21st Century Education.  But those plans fell apart, not long after the school opened in 2011.

The school lost track of more than 50 laptop computers given to students. Teachers and parents criticized the Director, Nina Rasmusson for mismanagement.  And an audit earlier this year, showed money that was supposed to go to educating students was spent on party supplies, like cakes, cards and floral arrangements.  

The final blow - the school failed to open its doors in August, forcing the district to find new schools for students who attended the Des Moines Charter School. 

Isaiah McGee, a consultant for the Iowa Department of Education says the State Board of Education had no choice but to revoke the charter.

"The school was not functioning... they're in violation of their charter."   

Only one member of the State Board of Education voted against revocation.  The Des Moines School Board could appeal and ask for a hearing on the matter.  But spokesperson Phil Roeder says that won't happen.  

"We are getting out of the charter school business now."

Roeder says the district has no plans to reopen the Des Moines Charter School or launch any other Charter School.  Instead, he says the district will focus on finding alternative programs for the Charter School's former students.

"We're going to move forward the best way that we can."

This is the first time the State has revoked a charter.  Overall, Iowa's Charter Schools do not have a good track record.  11 school districts have received charters since the law was enacted in 2003.  Only three of those schools remain open.