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Benji's Special Educational Academy Benji's Special Educational Academy Independent School District (or Benji's Academy Charter School) is a state charter school with two campuses (including Benji's II) in the Northside district of Houston, Texas,[1][2] near the Fifth Ward.[3] The school covered grades Pre-Kindergarten 4-12.[4] As of 2010 the school is defying an order to close from the Texas Education Agency. Contents 1 History 2 School Song 3 References 4 External links History The school was founded on May 8, 1981 by Theaola Robinson, who serves as the executive director and founder of Benji's Academy. Her son, Benjajuain "Benjie" Chandler, was diagnosed with some brain damage at age three. According to Robinson, she became frustrated when she did not find any satisfactory schools that would help her son succeed. Therefore Robinson established the school. In November 1998 the school received a charter from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to serve grades PreK through 12.[5] The TEA board, appointed by TEA commissioner Robert Scott, voted to close Benji's on Monday September 13, 2010 because, according to the board, Benji's was almost bankrupt. According to Debbie Ratliffe, a TEA spokesperson, Benji's had $800 in the bank, with $85,500 owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), $350,000 owed to two banks, and additional debts owed to the Texas State Teacher's Retirement System. Robinson defied the state's order to close her school and continued operations. According to Houston City Council member Jarvis Johnson, 400 of the school's 500 students attended classes on Wednesday September 15, the day that the TEA's order took effect. The school demanded that the TEA release funds that, according to Benji's, were improperly withheld from the school. On Friday September 17 the school's bid for the release of the funds failed.[3] In 2011 Robinson sued KTRK-TV and its parent company, Disney, for libel.[6] School Song Joe Willis wrote and arranged the school song. Cedric Taylor performed the school song. The song is as follows:[7] "We are standing on the brink of tomorrow. With yesterday a mere fleeting memory. We are reaching for higher heights and uncharted seas to sail. With Benji’s I know I will not fail. Benji’s Academy is the beacon that shows us the way. Benji’s Academy stands for truth, justice, and freedom everyday. That’s why Benji’s will forever be in our hearts.... The future is brighter than ever before. Our destiny waits on a distant shore. If we stay on our present course we will land upon a star. With Benji’s no place is ever too far.... Benji’s Academy is the beacon that shows us the way. Benji’s Academy stands for truth, justice, and freedom everyday. That’s why Benji’s will forever be in our hearts.... Our quest for knowledge fuels the flame that burns deep within. Our search for peace and equality will never.... Benji’s Academy is the beacon that shows us the way. Benji’s Academy stands for truth, justice, and freedom everyday. That’s why Benji’s will forever be in our hearts ..." References ^ "gnmd_map.pdf." Greater Northside Management District. Retrieved on November 11, 2009. ^ "Please Contact Us." Benji's Academy Charter School. Retrieved on September 18, 2010. ^ a b Mellon, Ericka. "School defying closure order loses bid for funds." Houston Chronicle. September 17, 2010. Retrieved on September 18, 2010. ^ "index." Benji's Academy Charter School. Retrieved on September 18, 2010. ^ "The Foundation." Benji's Academy Charter School. Retrieved on September 18, 2010. ^ Connelly, Richard. "Theaola Robinson: Longtime Charter School Head Sues KTRK for Libel." Houston Press. Monday January 31, 2011. Retrieved on February 7, 2011. ^ "School Song." Benji's Academy Charter School. November 11, 2002. Retrieved on September 18, 2010. External links Houston portal Schools portal Benji's Academy Charter School (Archive) "Benji's Charter School." KIAH-TV