Heritage Collegiate applicant to appeal Charter Schools Review Board decision

By: - October 23, 2023 4:00 pm
the logo of Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy

Image: Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy

Kashi Bazemore said Monday that she will appeal the Charter Schools Review Board’s decision to not reconsider her charter application to open a school in Wake County.

The review board voted against reconsidering Bazemore’s application to open Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy last week, citing concerns about her past leadership of a charter school in Bertie County. The school was low-performing and was assumed by another charter operator in 2018. It permanently closed in 2022.

Bazemore had asked the review board to reconsider the State Board of Education’s decision in March to deny Heritage Collegiate a charter, even though it received a glowing review and an approval recommendation from the Charter School Advisory Board.

The Review Board replaced the advisory board under House Bill 618.

Kashi Bazemore (Photo via Facebook)

“We have decided to appeal the NC Charter Schools Review Board decision this week to the North Carolina State Board of Education,” Bazemore said in a Monday text message. “We will see if they are willing to consider the legal facts and evidence that the NC Charter Schools Review Board ignored on record.”

Bazemore’s remarks were much different from those she shared last week shortly after the review board voted to not reconsider her application. Bazemore went live on Facebook to denounce the board and the process, vowing to end the quest to “reopen” the school, which has the same name as the Bertie County school she once led.

“I’m letting you know that plan, that dream is not consistent with what God has for me, and so I am abandoning the plan to reopen Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy,” Bazemore said last week. ”

A provision in the new law allows charter applicants to request that the review board reconsider state board decisions made after July 1, 2022, in cases where they contradicted the advisory panel’s recommendations.

Established under HB 618, the review board assumed many of the state board’s charter school oversight responsibilities. It has the power to grant, amend, terminate and renew charter applications. The state board retained appellant responsibilities.

The review board that refused to reconsider Bazemore’s application is made up of many of the same people who served on the advisory board, which acknowledged past concerns about Bazemore but decided that she deserved another chance.

The former advisory board members all had a change of heart last week.

Review board member Bartley Danielsen, one of the former advisory board members that recommended charter approval, said last week that he’s no longer confident that the Heritage Collegiate board can effectively run a school.

“I think the first time I saw this [application] I was persuaded by the need [for the school] and by [Bazemore’s] experience but the experience I’ve learned to suspect was not everything I thought it was initially, so I would be inclined to vote no this time although I’ve voted yes in the past,” Danielsen said.

The review board’s did reconsider and approve a charter for American Leadership Academy Monroe (ALA Monroe), a charter school planned for Union County that will be managed by Charter One — a large, for-profit charter management firm based in Mesa, Arizona.

The review board approved the ALA Monroe charter despite the state board’s concerns about a potential conflict of interest: ALA Monroe’s board Chairman Mitchell Schwab was formerly employed by Charter One, which has been hired by the school’s Board of Directors to manage the school. State board members also questioned the academic performance of the five Charter One-managed schools in North Carolina and the management contract between Charter One and the ALA Monroe board.

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Greg Childress
Greg Childress

Education Reporter Greg Childress covers all aspects of public education in North Carolina, including debates over school funding, curricula, privatization, and teacher pay and licensing.