The D.C. Public Charter School Board has received two applications for potential new charter schools, both of which seek to take over Options, a school for at-risk students that is under court receivership.
The future for Options has been uncertain since the city sued the charter school and its former leaders, alleging that they diverted more than $3 million from the school through contracts to companies they founded.
Josh Kern, a court-appointed receiver who is overseeing the Northeast Washington school, issued a request for proposals in August to find a new operator. Applicants first must be approved by the charter board to operate a school in the 2015-2016 school year.
The charter board announced the two applications Wednesday. One is from the current leaders of Options, who propose to continue efforts to turn around the school and to reopen it as Kingsman Academy. The second is from Phillips Programs for Children and Families, an organization that operates special education and nontraditional schools in Maryland and Virginia.
Charter board members are expected to vote on the applications at a meeting Nov. 20, and the receiver plans to make a final decision in December.
The process is similar to the selection process for two charter school takeovers approved last year. New York-based Democracy Prep was granted a charter to open a new school, but it instead was selected by leaders at Imagine Southeast in Ward 8 to take over that school. In addition, KIPP DC was selected to take over Arts and Technology Academy.
Options, which received its charter in 1996, was one of the city’s first charter schools. The school focuses on serving students who are the most at risk of dropping out of school.
Kern’s request for proposals to take over the school detailed some of the challenges that the school’s 386 students last year face: Nearly two-thirds had disabilities, one in five was overage and short the credits needed to graduate on time, and nearly one in 10 was homeless.
“In any given week, 7 to 10 students were absent because they were incarcerated,” the request said.
The charter board has two application cycles each year. During the most recent cycle, it received nine applications and approved three in May.
The board plans to have a hearing about the current applications Oct. 14.