Monday, June 16, 2014

19 of 25 charter schools approved in N.C. not ready to open this fall

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 2:28 PM

As of now, just six of the 25 charter schools approved to operate this year in North Carolina are ready to open in the fall. The Charlotte Observer reports 19 schools still have to prove to the state that they have the "students, classrooms and plans" in place to open.

And the situation is worse in Charlotte: Eight of the 10 approved for the area still haven't produced the information required to open.

Charlotte was also home to the troubled StudentFirst Academy, which opened in August 2013 and closed in April. The state approved its charter despite noting shortcomings in the application. By November, the state was investigating reports of mismanagement and academic problems. Details about undocumented expenses, inflated administrator salaries, unpaid bills and middle school students napping during the school day emerged in later legal documents.

Some cited the school's troubles as a sign that North Carolina moved too fast to approve new schools after lifting the 100-school cap in 2011. Others say the state's Charter School Advisory Board has swung too far in the other direction. The state received 71 applications for 2015-16, but the board has recommended approval for only 11.

An advisory board is expected to meet today to get an update of the schools' progress.

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