Citing poor performance and compliance problems, the State Board of Education voted to not renew the charters of two schools in Carrboro and Morehead City.
The state’s Charter School Advisory Board recommended to the Board of Education in December to terminate the charters held by PACE Academy and Coastal Academy for Technology and Science.
Joel Medley, director of the state’s Office of Charter Schools, says the decision was difficult, but is critical to ensuring “high-quality charter schools” in North Carolina.
“Renewal decisions are based on past performance, not future promises,” he says. “Any charter school that struggles, it is not because of the students that are in the schools, it is because of the leaders of the schools and because of the decisions they did or did not make.”
Medley says his office found that both schools have patterns of non-compliance, low academic performance and concerns related to financial stability.
Supporters of PACE Academy, however, refute many of the findings. They argue that the school was compliant in all areas except for accountability, which is related to test performance.
The school’s large population of students with special needs makes it difficult to fairly assess their academic performance, they say. More than half of their students are considered exceptional children with individualized education plans.
“We’re going to continue to fight this. It’s not going to be an easy road but we feel like we have a lot of documented evidence to support our case to get us a renewal of our charter,” says Rhonda Franklin, principal of PACE Academy.
Coastal Academy for Technology and Science, formerly known as Cape Lookout Marine Science High School, successfully appealed a non-renewal decision made in 2012. Consequently, the Office of Charter Schools granted the school a two-year renewal with several stipulations. Officials say they ultimately were not successful in meeting them.