When the City on a Hill Charter School announced that this would be its last year, it wasn't much of a surprise to anyone. The school had been failing miserably and it appeared its days would be numbered.

WBSM News reported last month that state education officials had placed "City on a Hill New Bedford on probation with conditions in January, requiring major improvements to the charter school's faithfulness to its charter and academic program."

The Board of Trustees voted in November to close its charter.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision for our Board to make. This past year, our COAH NB scholars, staff, and community members have made every effort to meet or exceed our probations conditions," said Kevin Taylor, City on a Hill's Chief Executive Officer.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell tells me the school's closing comes as no surprise to him. He says impacted students will be blended into the public school system and the money allocated to make the school function will also be absorbed by the system and will help offset the cost of the Alma del Mar expansion.

What may have been lost in all of this is the fate of the students this academic year, particularly the senior class. Some of those students picketed City Hall yesterday, chanting "we need teachers, we need education." The students tell WBSM's Brian Thomas that teachers are missing from classrooms and that students are being told to watch movies.

Brian spoke to several students during their protest and will present their case and their concerns during his Saturday morning program on WBSM. Brian will join me today at 1:05 p.m. with a preview. You can listen in at 1420 WBSM or by downloading the free WBSM app.

School Superintendent Thomas Anderson and Mayor Mitchell need to immediately intervene on behalf of these students to ensure that they will receive the education they were promised. The battle over charter schools, their autonomy, and their funding should not deprive these students of their right to a proper education.

None of this is their fault and they should not have to pay the price.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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