Charter School Advisory Board

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State Board of Education members voted Thursday to revoke Kestrel Heights Charter School's right to serve high school students. The Durham K-12 charter school is on thin ice after it uncovered a long-running diploma scandal.

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Kate Ter Haar / Creative Commons

It began with a tip from two Kestrel Heights Charter School staff members. They pulled aside Kestrel’s executive director Mark Tracy on his visit to the Durham K-12 charter and told him they were worried two seniors did not have the credits to graduate. That tip set off an internal investigation by Kestrel, which revealed past school administrators had been giving out faulty diplomas for years. Since 2008, 40 percent of Kestrel students received a diploma without meeting the state requirements.

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An internal investigation has revealed 40 percent of Kestrel Heights Charter School graduates since 2008 didn't actually have enough credit hours to earn a high school diploma. The Durham charter school released a statement Monday saying there was "a systematic breakdown by the high school principals and counselor for the eight-year period in question."

Lawmakers are considering a number of education changes.
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Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature. 

Changes to the charter school renewal process have cleared both the state House and Senate, and are on their way to the governor's desk.

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Eight North Carolina charter schools are up for consideration for 2014 renewals.

Representatives of the schools will present in front of the newly formed Charter School Advisory Board today and Tuesday to address concerns that the board might have regarding the schools' fulfillment of academic and fiscal standards.

In North Carolina, public charter schools must seek renewals every ten years, though some receive shorter terms because of compliance problems.