charter schools

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. 

One group whose application to open a charter school in Eastern North Carolina was initially rejected will get a second shot. The state’s charter school advisory council decided Ignite Innovation should advance to the interview round with its proposal for a school in Pitt County in eastern North Carolina.  The group was the only one of 29 previously rejected applicants that the advisory council agreed to give a second chance.   The state board of education last month told the council they needed to give groups a chance to clarify their applications.

North Carolina’s top charter official warned schools Thursday that they could lose their charters, which authorize them to get public money, if they refuse to comply with public records requests for salaries.

North Carolina’s top education officials now say charter schools must publicly reveal salaries, reversing a March announcement that the independent public schools are exempt from that requirement.

CMS And Charter Schools

Apr 11, 2014
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

If you’ve been following public education in recent years, it almost seems as if the system is under siege.  That’s certainly the case locally.  CMS recently told county commissioners that they would likely lose $80 million to charter schools this year – an amount that cannot be made up with cuts in overhead.  And teacher pay continues to be a big issue.  We get an update on all this from Superintendent Heath Morrison and state school board member John Tate.

Tom Bullock steps in for Ben Bradford on this week's show. Greg, Lisa and Tom discuss the race for Charlotte mayor and Patrick Cannon's recognition on the The Daily Show. Plus, the production assist that some candidates are giving third-party interest groups, and a charter school in Charlotte that shuts down before the school year ends.

Mecklenburg County commissioners got a crash course Tuesday in how charter schools are funded.  They heard CMS will likely lose more than $80 million dollars to local charter schools next year.  But if CMS no longer has the expense of educating those students, why is that chalked up as a loss for the district? 


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