Campagna struggles to repay loans as it prepares to close doors

2012-05-28T22:25:00Z 2012-07-29T16:09:43Z Campagna struggles to repay loans as it prepares to close doorsBy Carmen McCollum, (219) 662-5337

SCHERERVILLE | Campagna Academy Charter School may not have enough funds to repay Indiana for outstanding common school loans when it closes its doors Friday.

That's according to an Indiana State Board of Accounts audit. The charter school owes the state $202,789 plus interest, and it also owes its managing company Campagna Academy Inc. $200,000 for an outstanding loan. The school corporation has conferred with the Indiana Department of Education about closing the school and repaying the loans.

Campagna Academy Inc. approved a proposal in September to not renew its charter agreement with Ball State University because of decreasing enrollment. It said ending operations at the school will help it focus on its residential services program and meet the therapeutic needs of its young residents.

Campagna Academy Charter High School opened in 2002 and offered a nontraditional educational option for high school students who struggled in a traditional school setting. It helped young men and women attain high school diplomas.

Campagna CEO Elena Dwyre said closing the charter school is a new situation for the state and Campagna, and both are learning how to do it.

"Everything is kind of uncertain right now, and nothing is final at this point," she said. "We have talked about how to repay the money, but nothing is final."

Stephanie Sample, Indiana Department of Education spokeswoman, said the department expects to be repaid through the Charter School Facilities Fund.

"If any charter school closes and they don't have the money to pay the loan back, the law allows for us to recoup those funds through the Charter School Facilities Fund," she said. "That's money that would have gone to charter schools, anyway, for other things."

It is unclear how the charter school will repay the loan to its parent company. Dwyre said it's still under discussion.

At its peak, Campagna Academy Charter School served 176 students. Today, 54 students attend the school, 10 of whom will graduate Saturday.

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