A West Valley City charter school for pregnant teens and young mothers has one last chance to keep its doors open.
Members of the Utah Board of Education will hear an appeal by Kairos Academy, board spokeswoman Emilie Wheeler said Monday, following the termination of the charter school in July by the State Charter School Board.
Wheeler said state school board chairman Mark Huntsman is currently in the process of selecting a panel of board members to hear the school's appeal and that a hearing date has not yet been set.
"We want to do this in a timely fashion in order to ensure the students have appropriate educational options to start the school year," Wheeler said.
Kairos launched in fall 2014 and has been on probation with the state charter school board since spring 2015. The school has struggled with low enrollment — roughly 90 students attended Kairos last year — and budget constraints compounded by free, on-site daycare services.
The alternative high school also fares poorly on traditional academic metrics. Exact figures are not available due to the school's small size, but school board data indicate Kairos has a graduation rate below 10 percent and few students scoring proficiently on statewide tests.
During termination hearings before state charter school board members, Kairos representatives argued that test scores and graduation rates are an imperfect measurement for students impacted by pregnancy and childbirth. The school also replaced its director and governing board chair in July in an attempt to mitigate the charter board's concerns through a show of new leadership.
State school board rules dictate that a panel of three to five board members be convened within 45 days of a charter school's formal request for appeal. Following the hearing, the panel provides a recommendation to either confirm or reject the school closure for a vote of the full Utah Board of Education.