FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Administrative Law Court on Thursday denied a request by The Palmetto Youth Academy to remain open after its renewal application was rejected by Florence 1 Schools in May.
The academy appealed the decision on June 16 and sought a continuance, which was denied at Thursday’s hearing in Columbia.
“The court finds that PYA failed to meet its burden to show that without a stay it will suffer an unusual hardship beyond the usual hardships experienced when schools close,” the court order said. “PYA was unable to demonstrate, which specific evidence, that traditional public schools or other charter schools in the area cannot absorb the children currently enrolled at PYA and provide the same or substantially same services.”
Earlier this week, prior to Thursday’s hearing, the superintendent of Florence 1 Schools alleged that the academy was continuing to operate illegally and sent letters to several state leaders, including Gov. Henry McMaster, Attorney General Alan Wilson and state Superintendent Ellen Weaver.
According to the court order filed Friday, the Florence 1 Board of Trustees decided not to renew the academy’s application because it did not have a performing arts curriculum, failed to enter student information into PowerSchool, failed to issue report cards and interim reports to parents and “persistently committed materials violations of its charter and the law from which the school was not exempted.”
At the time, the order said the academy argued that it had the resources to continue to operate without further funding from Florence 1 Schools. The academy also argued that it had accepted students who had been turned away from “failing” district schools and maintained that “they would be forced back into an environment where they don’t do well.”
Florence 1 Schools, meanwhile, rejected those claims, the order said.
Palmetto Youth Academy opened in August 2005 with 75 students in grades three through six.
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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in West Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.