Hope Scholarship Board Bans Struggling Martinsburg Micro School From Program • West Virginia Watch

Hope Scholarship Board Bans Struggling Martinsburg Micro School From Program • West Virginia Watch

Board members who oversee the Hope Scholarship, the state’s education savings account program, have permanently banned a struggling microschool from participating in the program.

Hive Learning Academy, a microschool located in Martinsburg, opened in 2023 then had to close during the school year, leaving families in difficulty to find an alternative.

Following allegations of Hope Scholarship violations, board members on Tuesday voted to revoke The Hive’s approved education provider status and suspend any future grants.

Additionally, board staff were asked to turn over the preliminary audit findings and supporting documentation regarding the hive to the state auditor’s office for the ongoing investigation into the microschool.

This could include a potential determination for criminal prosecution, according to West Virginia State Treasury communications director Jared Hunt.

“As this matter is under an ongoing investigation, we will be unable to comment or offer further information on the details of the situation to allow the process to progress appropriately,” Hunt wrote in an email.

This is the second education provider disqualified from participating in the Hope Scholarship since it was launched for the School year 2022-2023. The program gives approximately $4,400 per student in taxpayer money for families to use for private school, homeschooling and more.

Lawmakers added microschools to Hope Scholarship eligibility

State lawmakers last year voted add micro schools to participate in the Hope scholarship, the nation’s wider education savings account program.

Microschools are educational facilities that often feel like a blend of homeschooling and private schools. They are largely unregulated.

Educational providers interested in receiving Hope dollars to cover student tuition are not required to submit a business or educational plan in advance.

Hive founder Kaela Zimmerman said so The 74tha national nonprofit education newsroom, said earlier this year that a lack of cash flow largely contributed to the school’s closure.

She added that she and her co-founder never intended to “avoid our responsibilities.”

Parents said Hive students were largely “hanging out” on their phones and that their children’s study days lacked structure.

Educational providers “must provide educational services in accordance with the Hope Scholarship Act and the board’s rules,” Hunt said. THE requirements to include Criminal background checks on employees who work with students.

The Hope Scholarship has expanded rapidly since its launch, and more than 5,000 students received the scholarship last school year.

According to the Treasurer’s office, 9,224 students received the Hope Scholarship for the 2024-25 school year. Scholarship amount for the next school year it will be $4,921.39.

Lawmakers recently approved an additional $27 million for the program to account for increased student participation.


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