FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW)–  Florence One School board members voted on Monday to not renew the certification for Palmetto Youth Academy, the only charter school in the district that helps at-risk youth from kindergarten to sixth grade.

Executive director of the academy, Yvonne Brown-Burgess, said 99% of the students enrolled are minorities. She also said the school enrolls 96% economically disadvantaged students.

Burgess said March 6th that she received a letter from Dr. O’Malley, the Florence School District 1 superintendent, recommending to not renew certification.

She had 14 days to request a hearing where the school board presented information and Burgess presented information.

The hearing, which was six hours long, took place on April 21.

The board decided to reconvene on Tuesday, when it decided to not renew certification.

 Burgess said she will appeal the decision. 

Here is the motion by Florence School District 1 board members that denies charter renewal for Palmetto Youth Academy:

“I move the Board deny the charter renewal application and not renew the charter for Palmetto Youth Academy charter school under the Charter Schools Act, § 59-40-110(C), on the grounds that Palmetto Youth Academy committed a material violation of the conditions, standards, and performance expectations provided for in its charter and that Palmetto Youth Academy violated provisions of laws and regulations pertaining to teacher staffing standards from which Palmetto Youth Academy was not specifically exempted.

I further move the Board find that Palmetto Youth Academy’s charter and applicable laws and regulations governing teaching standards require Palmetto Youth Academy to have at least 75% of its teachers properly certified by the State Department of Education and that its charter requires properly certified classroom teachers, which laws, regulations, and charter conditions Palmetto Youth Academy materially and persistently violated. Additionally, I move the Board find Palmetto Youth Academy’s student academic achievement, as measured by required South Carolina assessments, was unsatisfactory and in violation of material conditions, standards, and performance expectations provided for in its charter.

I further move the Board direct the School District administration to take all necessary and appropriate actions, consistent with the School District’s Charter School Closure Procedures, to minimize the disruption to the School’s students and their families and preserve the assets of the School for the benefit of the educational interests of the students of the School District, and that the Board Chair be authorized to issue an Order consistent with this motion within 10 business days. I so move.”

Taylor Ford is a digital journalist for News13. She joined the News13 team in January 2023. Taylor is a Florence native and covers the Pee Dee out of News13’s Florence Bureau. Read more of Taylor’s work here.

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