The D.C. Public Charter School Board on Monday rejected a request from BASIS DC to expand, citing concerns about the high number of students who have withdrawn from the charter school since fall.
BASIS, an Arizona-based chain of charter schools known for its rigorous academic demands, won approval to open doors in the District in 2012 despite questions about whether its model would work for struggling D.C. students. At BASIS schools, middle-school classes are accelerated and students must take and pass a heavy load of Advanced Placement courses to graduate from high school.
The school received city funding for 443 students, the number it had enrolled on Oct. 5. Since then, 43 students — almost 10 percent — have left the school. Seven of those who left were students with disabilities.
Board members said the high rate of attrition raises concerns about BASIS’s ability to serve all children, but the departures from BASIS also touch on broader debates about how D.C. education is funded and whether traditional neighborhood schools end up serving as a safety net for students who leave or are expelled from charters midyear.