Charter school closes doors without notice

Leaders at Acclaim Academy announce school closing immediately

ORLANDO, Fla. – Leaders at Acclaim Academy, a charter school on West Colonial Drive, announced Wednesday that the school will be closing, effective immediately.

Acclaim Academy CEO Dennis Mope sent home a letter to parents saying, "Acclaim Academy has decided to cease operations and terminate their contract with Orange County Public Schools."

OCPS spokeswoman Shari Bobinski told Local 6 that Acclaim had been going through financial problems. She said the district, which oversaw the charter school, gave it a 90-day warning to improve its financial outlook or face a shutdown.

Acclaim had submitted a request for a hearing, but it later canceled, Bobinski said.

Wednesday, students and teachers found out it would be their last day.

"I have no idea what's going on," said one parent. "Because now I'm going to have to try to put them in school. But there's what, three weeks before school to be let out? Why would you do that?"

Kara DiGiorgio teaches seventh grade at Acclaim. She told Local 6 teachers have been paid through the end of April, so they're waiting to see if they get their next scheduled paycheck May 15.

She said she's more worried about the students.

"I'm going to grade every single piece of paperwork I have," she said. "I'm going to submit every single grade I have. They worked; they deserve credit for it."

OCPS is now working on a plan to accommodate the charter students in other schools.  Students will have three options, officials told Local 6 on Thursday.

  • Attend the school for which they are zoned
  • Attend another charter school
  • Virtual school

School officials said each principal will decide what grade the student will be in.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.