If TiZA folds, authorities must ensure that it does not simply reconstitute itself under another name, or spawn similar projects with similar abuses. "TiZA kids seek new schools," by Sarah Lemagie for the Star Tribune, July 1:
A day after state officials e-mailed him shutdown instructions, the director of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA) advised parents to find new schools for their children while holding out hope that, "by some miracle," the charter school can stay open.
Standing beneath a basketball hoop Friday evening, Asad Zaman faced a crowd of more than 100 parents in the gym of the school's Inver Grove Heights campus. Mothers and fathers sat apart on either side of an aisle, at this meeting of a school where the vast majority of families are Muslim.
At some point, of course, this is highly likely to be spun as the product of "Islamophobia."
"I have to tell you, most likely the school will not survive," Zaman said, estimating that TiZA has a 10 percent chance of staying open.
In the eyes of the state, it has already ceased to exist as a public school. Left without legally required oversight when a new state law took effect Friday, the school has been told that it will no longer receive state aid.
Summer school will not resume Tuesday, Zaman said, but school officials are considering a challenge to the state Education Department in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
And after two adverse rulings from a judge and the state since Wednesday evening, TiZA already has taken a highly unusual step by filing for bankruptcy protection.
"Wow. That's unusual," said Sandro Lanni, founder of the Charter School Management Corp., when told of TiZA's filing. In a decade of providing business services to more than 100 charter schools -- none in Minnesota -- the California-based company has seen a few close, but "I've never heard of one doing bankruptcy," Lanni said.
Neither has George Singer, a Minneapolis attorney with 18 years of experience in bankruptcy law. "It's rare," he said.
TiZA, which is a nonprofit corporation as well as a public school, listed just over $84,000 in liabilities in its bankruptcy petition. It also listed unknown and disputed amounts sought by three adversaries in a contentious lawsuit over claims that the school has promoted religion.
Key among them: The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, which sued in 2009....
More: "TiZA's future bleak after loss in two key decisions," by Sarah Lemagie for the Star Tribune, June 30 (thanks to Friend O. Friend):
A Minnesota charter school that has been a magnet for Muslim students -- and controversy -- appears to be on the brink of closure after a judge's decision and a state ruling that left it unable to comply with a new state law. [...]
TiZA had also tried to switch authorizers, but the state denied the request shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
In her denial, Cassellius said the school's would-be overseer, Novation Education Opportunities, had shown a "lack of candor," in part by not disclosing apparent conflicts of interest with the school.
She said that TiZA parents have "expressed concern about the future of their school in light of misinformation the TiZA administration had provided them about conflicts of interest between the school's administration and other entities."
Among other problems, Novation also lacked an adequate plan for resolving concerns about the school raised by Islamic Relief, she wrote.
Many of those issues were uncovered by the ACLU's lawsuit. Among the concerns listed by Cassellius: A lack of transparency in TiZA's governance, conflicts of interest, an Arabic curriculum with sectarian content and the submission of unauthorized documents about the school to the state....
A prior report also mentioned the use of forged signatures.