Despite facing an FBI probe and losing its accreditation, American Indian Model Schools (AIMS), a nationally lauded charter school, will remain open at least until the end of the 2014 school year.
On Friday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo granted the school a preliminary injunction, ruling that the Oakland Unified School District made an error by not acknowledging the school’s academic success before revoking its charter.
AIMS has three campuses in Oakland, and the ruling by Judge Grillo allows all to remain open.
Earlier this year, the school district revoked AIMS’ accreditation, citing problems with its financial management. Last September, AIMS Founder Ben Chavis received a notice from the district that alleged improper business contracts with his companies, inappropriate credit card usage and lack of school board meeting documentation.
AIMS now has to appeal to the state Board of Education to rescind the school district’s revocation permanently, but that process won’t be completed until March 2014.
On Wednesday, the FBI confiscated documents and records “that they say are part of an ongoing investigation,” according to a statement released by AIMS spokesperson Sandra Varner. An FBI spokesperson said warrants are still sealed but could confirm a joint investigation with the IRS was under way.
AIMS officials say they just found out about the FBI investigation, but said that the “administration is working with authorities to discern the scope of the investigation and limit its impact on the students and their families.”
Although problems are far from being over for AIMS, Friday’s ruling gave administrators and students hope.
“AIMS staff is focused on keeping the schools open,” AIMS director Nabeehah Shakir said.