The parents of more than 800 York City kids will need to make new arrangements for their children's education after a state board voted unanimously Tuesday to close the New Hope Academy Charter School.
Unless an appeal is filed and a court intervenes, the school must close by Jan. 15.
About 820 students attend New Hope, and about 100 people work at the school, according to its founder.
In a press conference with reporters after the meeting, Isiah Anderson said he was "stunned" by the board's decision.
"We feel like (the state Charter Appeals Board) got it wrong," Anderson said.
The York City school board denied New Hope's application for a charter renewal in 2012.
The case has been in the hands of the appeals board ever since.
New Hope, which serves grades 5 through 12, opened in 2007.
Before making a motion Tuesday to deny New Hope's appeal, board chairwoman Carolyn Dumaresq read a prepared statement citing three reasons for the denial.
Each of the reasons is ambiguous and will be further explained in a written decision that will be publicly released within the next few days, said state Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller.
First, Dumaresq said, New Hope has failed to meet student performance requirements. Second, she said, the school violated several provisions of its charter, including its admissions policy and obligation to file financial statements.
And, finally, Dumaresq said New Hope had "numerous fiduciary violations both by the Board of Trustees and by principals of the school."
Anderson responded to the criticism by citing New Hope's 95 percent graduation rate. He said charter schools are fighting an "uphill battle" when they enroll former York City School District students who, he said, are three or four grades behind.
As for the matter of the financial statements, Anderson called it a "procedural issue." He said several employees failed in the early years to file financial statements. But, he said, that error was corrected.
District school board member Jane Hines, who attended the meeting in Harrisburg, said she was "extremely pleased with the results."
Administrators have already been working on plans to accommodate an influx of students, she said.
In July, the district - citing the potential need to enroll former New Hope students - sought the state's permission to reopen Hannah Penn Middle School, which it closed last year in a move to convert its six elementary schools to serve grades K-8.
Anderson said he and his staff will aim for "the best transition possible."
But, he said, the fact remains that 100 employees are likely to lose their jobs.
"It's going to take a Herculean effort to keep everyone together," he said.
New Hope has 30 days to appeal the board's decision to Commonwealth Court, Eller said.
Anderson said he has not yet decided whether to appeal.- Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.