charter schools

A Charlotte charter school has removed its founder and principal as the school struggles with low enrollment and significant financial shortfalls.

The board at Entrepreneur High School removed Hans Plotseneder as the school’s leader on Christmas Eve, according to documents from the state Department of Public Instruction.

Entrepreneur High opened in August and has been on probation with the state charter school office since September.

3 more area charters seek approval

Dec 28, 2014

More charter schools are in the planning stages in North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer reports the state received 11 more applications for charters next year, including three in the Charlotte area.   The expected growth comes as the latest crop of new schools falls short of enrollment projections. The newspaper reports that two Charlotte area charters have closed over the past two years in their first years,  because of low enrollment and other troubles.

Tasnim Shamma / WFAE

New charter schools in the Charlotte area only received two-thirds of the students they expected this year. 

Nine charter schools opened this year in the Charlotte area.  Concrete Roses STEM Academy closed after the first month.  The remaining schools expected to receive about 2,400 students, but according to the state department of public instruction only 1,643 enrolled. 

There’s a profit to be made off charter schools: charter school boards can hire for-profit companies to manage schools. Many charters in North Carolina are run this way. But should the owner of a for-profit company also have a seat on the charter school board that selects the company? That was long the case with Baker Mitchell. He owns a management company that runs four charter schools in the eastern part of the state. ProPublica’s Marian Wang took a look at Mitchell and his company Roger Bacon Academy. She joins Morning Edition host Marshall Terry to discuss.

A brand new charter school that opened in Charlotte on August 25 is shutting down. State officials sent Concrete Roses STEM Academy a letter this week placing the school on what the state calls Financial Disciplinary Status. The school's board voted Wednesday night to close the charter program as of Friday. This fall's enrollment of 126 students at Concrete Roses, located off Monroe Road, was far below the 300 students organizers had projected. WFAE's Mark Rumsey spoke with Helen Nance, who chairs North Carolina's Charter School Advisory Board, about the closure of Concrete Roses and the oversight of the state's charter schools.

Parents Say Charter School Closing Was Short Notice

Sep 19, 2014
Tasnim Shamma

Friday was the last day of school for about 120 students at a charter school in east Charlotte. It's closing its doors less than three weeks after opening because of financial troubles. Parents will now have to figure out where to send their children next week.

Tasnim Shamma / WFAE

A Charlotte charter school is closing its doors less than three weeks after opening, leaving 126 students to find a new school.

Parents of students at Concrete Roses STEM Academy got their first hint of trouble earlier this week.

"Everybody got the same call or e-mail that there was an emergency board meeting," says Shirley Brooks.

Her granddaughter, Taylor, is a fourth-grader at the K-12 school, which closes Friday.

"I had no idea that this could happen on a new school like this. I had no idea," Brooks says.

Update 1:10 PM

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says insurance fraud complaints in the state have reached a historic high, with more than 1,200 last year. Wilson’s office last year prosecuted cases that resulted in 37 convictions and resulted in more than $700,000 being returned to the victims of insurance fraud. The report notes that in one Darlington County case, three defendants sought payment from a health insurance company claiming they each had all four limbs amputated. None of the defendants had lost their limbs and one was convicted and sent to prison for 18 months. The report notes that since 1995, almost 14,000 insurance fraud complaints have been received by the state Attorney General's office.

N.C. General Assembly

Conflict over disclosure of charter-school salaries flared anew Thursday as House Democrats said a Senate-approved bill shields for-profit management companies from revealing who they hire and how much they pay.

In a Thursday evening news conference, Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, led the call for the public and Gov. Pat McCrory to fight a move that she says blocks accountability and transparency at charter schools, which are run by nonprofit boards and funded with public money.

“It’s a simple principle: The public should know where public money is going,” she said.

Lisa Worf / WFAE

Groups that want to open charter schools in North Carolina are reviewed by a board largely consisting of people who operate charters. That board was put in place to weed out the bad applications from the good. But it has been taking some heat lately. Some lawmakers think it may be doing too zealous a job partly because it only recommended a few charters this year.