Clock winds down for American YouthWorks

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by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and Photojournalist PETER HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 9:26 AM

AUSTIN – The clock is winding down for the school at American YouthWorks in Southeast Austin.

Last week, the Texas Education Agency moved one step closer in revoking the charter for American YouthWorks, a nonprofit which has helped high school dropouts attain not only their diplomas, but also job training, skills training and green building.

"There [are] a lot of neglected kids that are out at other schools, and they don't get a chance to prove themselves. And they just get thrown out onto the streets, and they don't usually graduate, and this is a place where you can get a second chance," said Eddie Guillen, a YouthWorks student about to graduate after three years at the school.

A spokesperson for the TEA says when Texas Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2 last summer, it changed the stipulations for the state’s 215 charter schools.

The TEA says American YouthWorks has had three consecutive years of low performances academically and financially. Under Senate Bill 2, this means the school could lose its charter and funding.

"They measure us by this tool that doesn't fit for the way that we operate a school," said Executive Director of American YouthWorks Parc Smith.

Smith says despite the TEA's decision regarding the school’s charter, job training and other YouthWorks programs will continue with donations and grants. He says he hopes concerned citizens will contact the TEA about keeping the YouthWorks school open.

The local nonprofit now has to appeal to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. However, no date has been set.

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