In November 2018, the Cabarrols County School System’s Board of Directors voted to close the Cabordas Central School District’s public school and charter schools in Cabarrol, Bexar County, after the school board approved a $1.3 million contract with the Florida Department of Education to help replace the Cabrillo charter schools.
The school district’s decision to close all of the schools comes as a blow to the community of about 300 students who lived in the area for many years.
According to the district, the closure of the school system was necessary due to the increased demand for charter schools after the state of Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCSF) ordered the closure in May 2019.
In February 2018, DCF issued a letter to the Cabrabas County School District stating that the Cababrillo district could not comply with the requirements of the district’s charter school contract, as well as other state and federal requirements.
DCF had also warned the district that it was in violation of federal regulations regarding school closures.
Following the closure, the district filed a petition to overturn the decision, arguing that the district violated state law and federal law.
The District of Bexaro filed a motion to dismiss the petition, arguing it was barred by the state constitution and the Federal Constitution from doing so.
The district argued that the state had not given the district notice of the closure and the district did not have the authority to terminate the charter school contracts with DCF.
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Florida (DCFC) agreed with the district on March 20, 2019.
DCFC found that the closure was “justified” under federal law and the DCF Act, and that the DCFSD had no authority to issue a notice of termination.
In a court order issued on April 8, 2019, the District of Cabarros Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that the District had no legal authority to require the district to close any school.
In its decision, DCFC noted that the decision to terminate a charter school is subject to the discretion of the Board of Trustees.
In the opinion, the DCFC said the district could close the school systems charter schools and continue to operate those schools.
On April 13, 2019 the District Board of Education and the District Attorney filed a joint complaint with the US District Court of the Central Circuit of Florida.
The complaint alleges that the Department of Justice’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has violated federal law by failing to enforce its obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The OCR has denied the District’s claims, saying the district was in compliance with the law and regulations in place.
The DCF Department of Public Education (DPE) did not respond to requests for comment on the case.
In 2018, a group of families in the community formed a nonprofit, Save the Cabbarrells Charter Schools, to lobby the Districts Attorney and the Commissioner of Education for a full refund of the cost of the charter schools that were shut down.
In March 2019, they reached an agreement with DCFS and the Board to reopen the schools.
According the Save the Campbers Charter Schools website, “Our mission is to restore the community’s trust in the education system and to help all our students thrive in a school environment free from discrimination and bullying.
We want the schools to reopen and provide students the best learning environment possible.”
The schools were reopened in early October 2019.
According To the district website, Save The Campbers charter schools were designed to provide students with a “safe, respectful, and supportive environment.”
According to Save the Bays Charter Schools’ website, their mission is “to help all children succeed by teaching kids to be smart, hardworking and respectful.”
In an email to the News and Observer, Save-the-Bays CEO, James K. Bays, wrote, “Save the Campers Charter School is committed to providing a safe, respectful and supportive learning environment.
We look forward to being part of the community in helping our students achieve their academic and personal goals.”
On April 9, 2019 DCFS issued a notice to the school district stating that it will be conducting a public hearing on the status of the Save-The-Banks charter schools to determine whether the district can resume operation.
According an April 15, 2019 email from Save- the Backs President, James Bays to Save- The Campers Director, Tom K. Dennison, the hearing will take place at 1:00 p.m. on April 15 at the Cabarrely Public Library in downtown Cabarrell.
In that email, Kays writes, “We will be meeting with Save-Backs directors and principals to get feedback from the community on the plan to reopen Save-Saves Charter Schools.”
The district did announce on April 13 that it has approved the closure agreement.
In October 2019, Save Bays began the process