Closed Mesa Charter School Had History Of Financial Problems

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - 6:24pm
(Photo via Hillcrest Academy Twitter page)
Hillcrest Academy used this logo on their Twitter page.

It’s been two weeks since a Mesa charter school closed unexpectedly, leaving at least 130 kids little time to find new schools.

The Hillcrest Academy board sent out an email to parents early August, a day before school was supposed to start, that the charter school was closing.

The Leman Academy of Excellence in Tucson planned to take over managing the school this year, but backed out after financial problems arose in July.

"We came in good faith thinking that we could work with the board and make this happen, and then over the course of about 45-60 days, we started to see things that made us nervous," Leman Academy CEO, Joe Higgins said. “The ability for us to pay our teachers became a big concern and we were afraid we wouldn’t have the income to cover the obligations we were making.”

Former Hillcrest parent Harmoni Boyles enrolled her son in the charter school because of the location, and was told of the expected management change, but nothing else.

“The fact that they didn’t let parents know at all throughout the whole summer and just let us think that everything was fine and then pull the rug on us the day before school was starting? I find that appalling,” Boyles said.

Boyles ended up sending her son to Liberty Arts Academy, another charter school in Mesa. She said other former Hillcrest parents chose Liberty Arts as well.

Hillcrest said the failing health of its charter representative, along with legal and financial problems, forced them to close.

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