After 25 years, charter schools continue to provoke controversy in North Carolina
Without discussion, the State Board of Education on Monday unanimously agreed to close Eastside Stream Academy in Charlotte due to financial and governance concerns.
The state board’s vote came on the heels of a recommendation by an independent appeals panel that upheld the state board’s April 6 decision to not renew the school’s charter. Eastside leaders appealed the decision and requested a review by an independent panel.
The Charter School Advisory Board had also recommended that the state board not renew Eastside’s charter.
State investigators conducting a review of the school’s operations in advance of its charter expiring found that school leaders had not provided sound financial audits for the preceding three years and that the school’s academic outcomes had not been comparable to those of students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district.
Investigators were also concerned about the school’s high teacher turnover rate. Teachers who resigned told the Office of Charter School that they left because of the school’s troubling culture and environment.
Eastside leaders reported that the low-performing K-8 school with approximately 270 students attracts mostly male students from low-income families with behavioral issues and academic deficiencies and that some students were two-to-four grade levels behind when they arrived at the school.
Invest Collegiate Transform, another Charlotte charter school, is also facing closure after the end of the school year. The K-12 school has until May 15 to appeal the state board’s decision to not renew its charter due to compliance issues.
Last year, four charter schools closed. The charters of Torchlight Leadership Academy and Three Rivers Academy in Wake County were revoked after state investigators found serious financial and governance issues. The Learning Center in Cherokee County voluntarily relinquished its charter after its board reported that a new director allegedly misused public funds. Another Charlotte charter school, UpRoar Leadership closed due to academic and financial shortcomings.
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