Organizers plan to reopen troubled charter school

HOUSTON This school reopens tomorrow with 200 students, down from 500 a month ago. And tomorrow for the first time since September, those children will be attending an accredited school. But there are still many more questions than answers as to just how all this happened.

On September 14, the TEA ordered Benji's Academy to close, citing millions of dollars in state funding that was not accounted for. Now the school will be run under new management and has been combined with the High School for Business and Economics Success. That school serves 170 students and will remain at its own campus. Benji students will remain at the same building.

The difference is that the administration will be hired and overseen by a company called Management Accountability Corporation, operating the school under an HISD charter. Employees who left can reapply for their jobs and the new corporation says they will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

"You'll see new management in most of the critical areas first, which is the finance department, the enrollment management department and throughout the administration," said Benji's spokesman Richard Johnson. "So those are the first phases of the transition period and then from that point, we will move into looking at the deficits in terms of the teachers, because some teachers did not come back."

The other big priority here is to getting the word out to the students who left the school. They are trying to recruit back those 300 students who left last month because the school depends on attendance for its funding.

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