Houston Heights Academy school closes, parents want answers

HOUSTON – A Houston Charter School appears to have closed its doors permanently because of financial insolvency.

The Houston Heights Learning Academy, which was originally granted a State Board of Education charter in September, 1998.

The Board of Directors for the school informed the Texas Education Agency it would close for good as of Nov. 18.

A Channel 2 Investigates review of state records shows the school spent approximately three times more on operating expenses than the state average.

"Something about money. They don't have enough money, and all that," Olga Aguilar, a school parent said.

Aguilar and about 70 other families were searching Monday for new schools.

"I've been going through like five schools and they just can’t take them because it’s like middle of the school year so it’s been hard to get her back into another school," Aguilar said.

It was not immediately clear Monday, why the school's expenses were so high, but the school had moved from its original location in the Houston Heights to 8787 North Houston Rosslyn Road, about 11 miles away.

The move was precipitated by a dispute with the landlord, a source said.

In January, KPRC Channel 2 covered another issue at the school, one involving teachers not getting paid.

Houston Heights Learning Academy Board President, Lalla Morris, responded to Channel 2's questions about the school closing with the following message sent Monday via email:

“At the November 18, 2016 meeting of The Houston Heights Learning Academy, Inc.’s governing board, the board voted to close Houston Heights Learning Academy public charter school effective November 18, 2016.”

“Despite the academic achievement and successes of our students, upon the review of our school’s current enrollment and the annual financial audit, the board voted to return the charter to the Texas Education Agency. This decision means that the Houston Heights Learning Academy public charter school closed November 18, 2016.

“Notification to parents and staff followed the Friday's decision. Two parent meetings were held on Saturday, November 26th and Sunday, November 27th at Houston Heights Learning Academy and school leadership provided families’ information about other public school choice options available to students and explained the transition of student records and other pertinent information necessary to enroll students in areas schools.

“The staff at HHLA has taken every step possible to provide a smooth transition for its families. Our top priority has always been, and continues to be, doing what is in the best interests of our students.”

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