State acts to close online charter school

Minnesota education officials are taking steps that will likely lead to the closing of BlueSky, an online charter school based in West St. Paul.

The Education Department ordered the school's sponsor, Novation Education Opportunities, to end its contract with BlueSky.

Department spokeswoman Charlene Briner says the school, which serves students in grades 7-12, has failed to remedy a string of problems -- including complaints about its math, science and social studies curriculum.

"The determination has been made that there have been major and repeated violations of state law, including the school graduating students that have not met state standards," she said.

Briner says state audits as far back as 2008 found the school was giving diplomas to some students who had not taken four years of English and three years of math.

"BlueSky can't exist without an authorizer, so if Novation doesn't take the steps to terminate the contract, the department will," said Briner. "I think it would be fair to say that BlueSky will not exist -- at least as it has in the past."

Officials from the school say they're deeply disappointed with the action, and accuse the Education Department of not having enough experience with online schools to evaluate them.

School officials have two weeks to officially respond to the state's notice.

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