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Public Safety charter high school abruptly shuts down

Nick Ciolino / Delaware Public Media
High school enrollment fair following the closure of Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security

The Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security charter high school closed down yesterday with little notice to students, parents and faculty.

The school’s board of directors voted to shut down DAPSS immediately.

The New Castle area school has struggled in the past to meet the minimum enrollment requirements for Delaware charters and was placed on formal review by the state Department of Education at the start of the calendar year.

Paraprofessional Andrew Pagano taught Tac Ops at DAPSS.

He says Tuesday night he found out he would have to start looking for a new job.

“We knew that there were certain aspects that we needed to meet this year. A lot of the staff was not privy to a lot of the higher decisions and a lot of the higher information,” said Pagano. “We weren't sure what was going to happen. We knew there was potential we could close early, but we were hoping for the best and planning for the worst.”

A DDOE committee made a list of recommendations for DAPSS in February ahead of the 2018-2019 school year. 

In a letter to parents, school board members say they believed DAPSS to be on the right track to start the school year. But 30 students enrolled this semester did not show up, and financial information revealed last week shows the school’s budget deficit to be greater than previously believed.

Renee Gordon says her freshman son Jyair, who is training to be a fireman, caught the bus Wednesday morning to learn the school was closed upon arrival.

“It’s sad that it’s closing. It’s really unfortunate, but it was a great school. My son really liked it. The teachers were proficient—sending me emails and keeping me up to date with everything. It’s unfortunate I’ve got to start that process all over again—getting to know the teachers and everything again,” said Gordon.

Gordon attended a high school enrollment event held at DAPSS Wednesday afternoon to register Jyair at a new school.

191 of his schoolmates have to do the same.

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