International School of Excellence students, parents shocked by closure

Parents and students at a private school in northeast Calgary want answers about why it is closing.

Province to close school at the end of June over financial and governance concerns

Students and parents from the International School of Excellence were surprised to find out the province will be closing its doors at the end of June. (CBC)

Parents and students at a private school in northeast Calgary want answers about why it is closing. 

The Alberta government is shutting down the International School of Excellence after a review of its governance and finances.

Alberta Education has told the board of directors of a northeast Calgary private school that they will not be able to operate next fall. The decision was made after hiring accounting firm KPMG to look into the finances and governing of The International School of Excellence. (CBC)

The students were told about the closure Tuesday and a letter was sent home to parents.

Grade 11 student Mohamed Afrah says his class was told during the last period yesterday.

"I think that it's a big tragedy for a lot of us because we really like the school and really like the people we met at the school," he said. 

"As students we don't really understand why it's getting shutdown, it was kind of a big surprise to all of us. So I think we would like an explanation from the teachers, or anybody, just to go over why it is happening."

Police, CRA investigations urged

The school is not allowed to operate past the end of June.

Sandra Exume has three kids in the school — her oldest has been enrolled for the last five years.

"I'm just going to look for another school for them, but I hope everything can keep going because it's a good school."

Inside the school this morning, offices of the founder, the principal and secretary were all empty. Teachers also wouldn't comment about the school's financial affairs.

Alberta Education is also recommending the Calgary police and the Canada Revenue Agency investigate the school after the audit raised questions about a BMW and a large home purchased for the school's founder.

There were also concerns about student achievement, teaching and safety. 

About 70 per cent of the school's costs — about $800,000 a year — have been supported by taxpayers. The province says it plans to help parents find new schools for their children by next fall.

The International School of Excellence opened in fall of 2003 and has 170 registered students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

With files from The Canadian Press

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.