Uncategorized

Chapel Hill charter school may not open in fall

The Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School, one of the nine “fast-track” charter schools approved to open this fall, is having issues getting a building to use for its scheduled fall opening.

Named after Howard Lee, a past chairman of the state school board and former Chapel Hill state senator, the public charter school reapplied to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to open for the 2013-14 school year, according to its DPI application.

National Heritage Academies, a Michigan-based for-profit charter school chain that runs five other schools in North Carolina, has already been contracted to run the school.

The charter school has a permanent location in mind, but hasn’t been able to get the proper permits to construct the charter school, according to school leaders’ statements to DPI. The charter school is still looking for temporary locations, and will open this fall if they find one in time.

But the charter they got from the state was only good for a fall 2012 opening, and delaying a year will mean it has to go through the approval process again with DPI and the N.C. State Board of Education.

In the fast-track round, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system opposed the charter school application, indicated it would drain the school system of needed funding, decrease diversity efforts in the current school system and send students to a untested charter school run by a for-profit company.

The Howard and Lillian Lee school has said it plans on targeting black and Hispanic students that lag behind their white counterparts in statewide testing.

Angela Lee, Howard and Lillian Lee’s daughter who has spearheaded the effort to open the school, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

From the school’s 2013-14 application(available here on DPI’s website):

[T]he Board has encountered challenges regarding the school’s facility. A permanent site has been identified and a letter of intent has been executed, but the unanticipated, lengthy process of obtaining a conditional land use permit prevents the Board from constructing a new facility before August, 2012. To resolve this issue, the Board is working diligently to secure an appropriate, alternative, smaller, temporary facility. Multiple facilities are being considered and the Board is currently determining which facility is in the best interest of students.

Despite its diligent efforts, the Board acknowledges that, pursuant to a motion by the State Board of Education, the approval of the Lee Scholars’ fast-track charter application shall be “null and void” in the event the school is unable to open this fall. Therefore, the Board respectfully submits this contingent charter application (the “Application”) to open a charter school in August, 2013, in the event that the Board is unable to secure an alternative, temporary facility.

National Heritage Academies typically purchases buildings for the schools and then rents them back to the non-profit school boards that run the public schools.

One Comment


  1. […] is an update to a May 21st post that the school was debating not opening  — it’s now definite that it […]

Check Also

UNC Board of Governors face protest, chooses new board chair and interim president

It was a busy day at the final ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

When Gov. Roy Cooper visits Wilmington on Monday, it's unlikely that he will be greeted by the [...]

When Gov. Roy Cooper signed the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention or STOP Act into law last month, [...]

Support for needy districts and key positions within North Carolina’s top public school agency may b [...]

Wilmington is bustling this summer. Downtown, horse-drawn carriages take tourists along the riverfro [...]

It’s not an original thought to point out that the Trump Administration is a larger version of what [...]

Why this is not “business as usual” and should not be condoned Sometimes all one can do is stand and [...]

5.0---percentage of overall state spending in the 2017-2018 budget passed by the General Assembly as [...]

The post A legislative addiction appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more