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Another new Charlotte charter school on the brink of closure

Yes, you read the headline right: Charlotte faces another crisis as its third charter school in less than a year –Entrepreneur High School — faces potential closure thanks to low enrollment and financial woes.

The Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Dunn has the run down on what’s happening at Entrepreneur. Here’s the takeaway:

  • The school has only $14 remaining in its bank account;
  • Enrollment is at 30 students, far below the anticipated 180 and statutorily required 65;
  • The school owes more than $275,000 back to the state;
  • The school’s board has removed its founder and principal, Hans Plotseneder, and is looking to a management company to take over the school; and
  • The State Board of Education will make a final decision on the school’s fate in March; however, it’s likely that the school will not be able to make their payroll liabilities between now and then.

What’s also fascinating, as Dunn points out in his story, is that the NC Charter School Advisory Board found serious inadequacies with Entrepreneur’s application, yet approved the school to open anyway. It’s a pattern I’ve observed with schools that have quickly run into problems and have had to shut down.

Looking at the scoring rubric that NCSAB members used to evaluate Entrepreneur’s application, many categories were deemed inadequate by at least one reviewer and many serious questions were posed. Below is a sampling of those questions put forth by reviewers–and it’s unclear if they were ever properly answered during the in-person interview because details of those interviews are not put in writing for the record.

  • Why just the minimum 1/2 of teachers licensed? — Jennie Adams
  • Realistically how many students will have their own laptop or tablet if from the lower income levels that they quote in the statistics? — Jennie Adams 
  • I have concerns about the proposed pay plan and would like more details. I am not sure it will attract the quality candidates needed to make this program work. —Tim Markley
  • RE: Financial Plan — There is not enough money allocated for remediation. School states that it will attract
    highly qualified staff but there are no benefits or salary that match that. There is a parttime
    financial secretary, but who is doing the day-to-day book keeping? — Summary review comments

Check out Entrepreneur’s application with comments from reviewers here.

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