State advisory committee says no to plans for charter schools at Fort Bragg and Fayetteville
The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.
Proposals for charter schools at Fort Bragg and in downtown Fayetteville were rejected by a state advisory committee Thursday.
The move effectively ends the process for this year, but a supporter said there are plans to appeal. If the decisions stand, the schools will not open in August 2013 as planned, but the groups proposing the schools can resubmit applications with hopes of opening in August 2014.
Charter schools get public funding for each student and have more flexibility than traditional public schools. They are open to anyone eligible to attend public schools.
The Fort Bragg proposal called for a high school on Vass Road about a half mile from N.C. 87 just outside the Spring Lake town limits. The school would have opened with about 1,050 students and had an enrollment of more than 1,500 by its fourth year, according to its proposal.
The downtown school would have been called the Capitol Encore Academy and was going to be located in The Capitol Building on Hay Street. It was going to focus on the arts and have 256 students in kindergarten through fifth grade in its first year and 480 in kindergarten through 10th grade by the fifth year, according to its proposal.
The state Public Charter School Advisory Council decided Thursday not to invite groups presenting the two proposals back for interviews in July.
The council will recommend to the state Board of Education which applications to approve. The board could make final decisions in September or October.
Joel E. Medley, director of the state Office of Charter Schools, said the Fort Bragg application had been changed after the deadline. The revision removed four of the five board members because of a military regulation, he said.
"Material revisions to applications are not permitted," Medley said.
Fort Bragg officials pulled out of the charter school effort, citing a conflict of interest.
Council members had issues with several parts of the Capitol Encore Academy application, according to an audio feed of the meeting.
Angela Romanowski worked on the two Cumberland County applications for The Romine Group, a for-profit educational management company in Michigan. The schools would have been nonprofit organizations, but their boards could have hired The Romine Group to run the schools.
Romanowski said she was disappointed by the council's decisions and hopes to appeal both.
The council did not discuss the Fort Bragg application, Romanowski said.
"All they said was, 'It's disqualified,' and moved on," she said.
Romanowski said state officials knew about the changes to the board and offered the group that was offering the proposal a chance to resolve the issue.
"It was a situation out of our control," she said.
The issues with the downtown school could be explained, Romanowski said.
"I really wish they would have let us go to interview because I think all the issues would have been cleared up," she said.
The council also rejected two other proposed charter schools in the Cape Fear region, but invited six other schools in the area to make presentations to the council next month.
The Anderson Creek Club Charter School in Harnett County was rejected. According to its proposal, it would have used innovative teaching methods meant to inspire curiosity in students.
The group proposing the Waddell Elementary International Charter Schools also was not invited for an interview. The schools would have been a charter network in Randolph, Robeson and Scotland counties.
Charter school proposals in the region that were invited for interviews were:
The Achievement School, which is planned for a Harnett County section of Fuquay-Varina and will have an "individual achievement plan" with measurable goals and specific learning objectives for each student.
Southeastern Academy in Lumberton, which will convert from a private school to a charter school and emphasize science and math.
Flemington Academy in Lake Waccamaw, which will convert from the Boys and Girls Home School and is operated by Columbus County Schools.
The STEM Education for a Global Society Academy, which will be in Delco and will focus on science, technology, engineering and math.
The Paul Brown Leadership Academy, which will be located on Martin Luther King Drive in Elizabethtown and focus on reading, communication, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, work ethic, integrity, physical wellness and leadership.