Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Chair; Lea A. Hubbard, PhD, Member; Frank R. Kemerer, PhD, Member


advice, business partners, California, charter school closures, facilities, financial problems, Leadership studies, perspective, qualitative, school administration, school directors, sponsoring agents


Charter schools have been categorized as "everyone's reform" (Bracey, 2004); they are a type of public school, first established in 1992, that normally has fewer restrictions than most public schools and that serves a student body that, in many circumstances, has consciously opted to attend the school. Charter schools have promised high student achievement and program options that would create healthy competition in the American educational market. Currently, in California alone, there are approximately 800 active charter schools that serve more than 340,000 pupils. As we close in on nearly twenty years of charter school reform, many charter schools could be considered successful. Every year, however, some have their charters either revoked or not renewed due to a variety of reasons including deficiencies in academic programming, poor student achievement, or improper fiscal mismanagement. According to the California Department of Education (2010), twenty-five percent of the 1,152 charter schools that have opened in California since 1992 have closed permanently, with more than forty closings due to charter revocation. To date, however, there has been very little research on charter school closures. This qualitative study attempted to (a) determine which types of California charter schools have closed, (b) discover the reasons the schools' former leaders give for the closures, as well as compare official reasons for closure with the schools' former leaders stated reasons for closure, and (c) solicit any advice the former leaders would offer others wanting to begin, or continue to successfully operate, a charter school. Reasons the former directors gave for their schools' closures included: (a) conflict with their sponsoring agent, (b) a negative relationship with their superintendent, (c) problems with facilities, (d) financial problems, (e) working ineffectively with a business partner, and (f) perceived unethical behavior by a business partner. Advice offered by these directors included the importance of securing and controlling finances at the site level, developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with sponsoring agents, beginning a charter school with a specific vision, not allowing a business entity to operate a charter school, and maintaining a high level of energy and enthusiasm.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access