Durham Charter School Kestrel Heights has lost its appeal to keep running its high school.
The state Board of Education voted Thursday to uphold an earlier decision to revoke the school's right to serve high school students.
The state board of education chose not to renew Kestrel's high school charter after it was revealed previous administrators had handed out more than 160 unearned diplomas over an eight-year period. The high school will have to close after the end of the school year.
An internal investigation revealed that 40 percent of Kestrel Heights graduates since 2008 didn't actually have enough credit hours to earn a high school diploma.
The school will be allowed to keep its elementary and middle school open, but will have to bring in an outside agency to audit its lower school operations.
The Durham District Attorney's office is also looking into the case, and has not yet said whether it will pursue criminal charges.