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Catherine Ferguson Academy to Stay Open

Catherine Ferguson Academy announced Thursday just hours before a scheduled protest of its proposed closing that its doors will remain open. After an order by Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Manager, the Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA) was set to permanently close today, June 17. CFA is a high school for pregnant teens and young mothers and is one of only three like it in the country. It boasts a graduation rate of 90% with all graduates continuing on to college. Established in 1986, CFA also provides early education and day care. The young women maintain a farm on school grounds and receive parenting classes as well as support to graduate and continue with higher education.

The school is now set to become a charter school and was purchased yesterday by Evans Solutions. Blair Evans, who runs the charter, promises to keep all programs intact. Two other public schools were purchased by the company, while seven public schools had to close permanently.

In April, Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager, Roy Roberts, called for closure of the school, along with 17 others. Facing a $327 million deficit, Detroit Public School were targeted for budget-saving measures. On Friday, April 15, several students were arrested while peacefully occupying the school after hours in protest.

According to Principal Asenath Andrews, there has been tremendous support from the community in Detroit “I am overwhelmed with relief that I didn’t have to start over,” Andrews said. Later, she told students and staff at the school: “I want to give credit to everybody. … This school will be available to girls in the future.”

Not all supporters of Catherine Ferguson are happy about the school’s chartering. Some teachers say that because they will no longer be a part of the teacher’s union, they may no longer be able to afford to continue teaching there. Detroit school board member Elena Herrada said “This could have been left a public school if they hadn’t let so much money go out over the years. The fact is we shouldn’t be celebrating this.”

Sources:

Detroit Free Press 6/17/11; Detroit News 6/17/11; Rachel Maddow Show 6/16/11; Feminist Newswire 6/9/11

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