Gateway University Charter School presented its case for remaining open to Tennessee State Board of Education staff members, who met in the Barnes Auditorium of the Shelby County Schools Board building on late Tuesday afternoon.
The next step is for a staff recommendation to the state Board of Education, which will make the final decision. In January, the Shelby County Schools (SCS) decided to close Gateway in May after the school year is over.
The 150-student high school was the subject of a seven-month SCS investigation, which concluded that Gateway’s administrators had mismanaged the charter school in northeast Memphis and purposely misled the district.
“Our leadership team presented a wealth of facts, extensive supporting documents and a well-rounded argument that we believe will help bolster our efforts,” Gateway administrators said through a state released after Tuesday’s appeals hearing.
“Parents, students, faculty and staff of Gateway University have expressed countless times their desire for our school to remain open. We have made the promise to our supporters to fight until the very end to bring that goal into fruition, thus making this appeal to the Tennessee Board of Education a necessary next step.”
The state Board of Education’s decision is expected within 60 days.
According to the SCS investigation, Gateway issued grades for nonexistent classes, and hired a employer who didn’t clear a background check. The governing board also was found to be inactive.
Gateway has challenged the findings arguing that there have not been any “material violations of Gateway’s charter agreement as required to support…revocation.”
In the statement following Tuesday’s appeals hearing, the Gateway issued an invitation for “local leadership to visit our campus and see why we are fighting to keep our doors open and our seats filled with the 150 students who are proud to call themselves Gateway University Eagles.”