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D.C. Closes Controversial School

May 19, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The end of the school year really will mark the end for a controversial charter school in the nation’s capital.

The District of Columbia Board of Education voted Monday to close the Marcus Garvey Charter School, which has been beset by controversy over finances, administration and the conviction of former principal Mary Anigbo and three staffers on assault charges. Anigbo was convicted last October of assaulting a reporter from The Washington Times and was fired in January over allegations of financial misconduct.

The board cited ``a pattern of fiscal mismanagement″ in its 7-to-1 vote to strip Garvey, a school with an Afrocentric curriculum which opened in 1996, of its charter.

The board’s action could ``trigger litigation,″ said Donald Temple, the attorney for the Garvey board of trustees. Temple said the school board is ignoring improvements made since Garvey’s own board fired Anigbo and brought in a Roman Catholic priest, who has attracted new students, built a 3,000-book library and paired students with mentors.

Temple also said the board may have singled out Garvey, holding it to higher standards than other semi-autonomous charter schools.

Garvey’s 73 students, all boys, in kindergarten through 12th grade, will be tested to see if they need any remedial summer school and will attend other schools in the fall.

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