Global Outreach Charter Academy offered a unique learning experience for students. Housed in a building at the Flagler County airport, the charter school was patterned after a similar campus in Jacksonville and immersed kids in a bi-lingual Russian/English tract.
But high rent and the lack of funds doomed the school and on Tuesday, school owners shut it down.
Roxie Martynuk showed up to gather her children's personal items and say goodbye to teachers and staff still hanging around.
“It was very shocking because we received a message yesterday night when we were at the beach," Martynuk said. "We didn't quite understand it, at that time. Then when we realized, my older one, she was crying because she really loved the school because it was like home.”
Martynuk says she knew of a number of families waiting until the next school year to enroll their kids. She says she'll enroll her youngest daughter in another public school but will homeschool her eighth grader.
Meanwhile, the public schools are ready to accept these late transfers and make the transition as seamless as possible for these families.
School Superintendent Janet Valentine said letters are going out to all the families at Global Outreach.
“We're saying by Monday, we understand it takes a couple of days to get things together, so by Monday we really want them to have their child registered and back into the schools,” Valentine said.
It's not like Flagler County is a graveyard for charter schools. However, Global Outreach is the second charter school in Flagler County to close in less than a year. Heritage Academy was shut down following back-to-back 'F' grades, so that was a slow demise over a number of years.
Both Valentine and School Board member Colleen Conklin agree, if you're going to shut a school down, they'd rather see it done quickly.
“Only because relationships get formed, bonds get formed. You're not talking about a business," Conklin said. "That's part of the problem. We're not making widgets. We're working with kids.”
Conklin went on to say it's a sure bet the board will want to know not only academic plans for any future charter school, but the business plan as well.
And while there's a place for the kids, for the teachers and staff of Global Outreach, they're on their own to find another job.
Global Outreach also failed to secure a quarter-million dollar start-up grant offered by the Florida Department of Education. Superintendent Valentine says that's the first time a charter school in Flagler County failed to get the money.