PEMBROKE, NC (WECT) – State Board of Education members discussed granting enrollment waivers to two Southeastern North Carolina charter schools Wednesday.
State law requires that charter schools have enrollments of at least 65, but Douglass Academy in Wilmington and Flemington Academy at Lake Waccamaw are falling short.
Douglass Academy leaders say marketing problems beyond their control were partly to blame.
"A whole stack of flyers that were sent out were completely lost by the post office," Joel Medley, director of the State Office of Charter Schools told the Board of Education.
Board Member Gregory Alcorn didn't find that explanation convincing.
"I'm in the marketing business and, if you do an RSVP or send out something and somebody doesn't get it, you usually know that in just a few days," Alcorn said.
Douglass Academy leaders also blame their low enrollment on delays in securing a building – the type of red flag that could be identified early by new procedures at the Office of Charter Schools.
"This process will ask for specific information coming back in from the schools, asking for their enrollment numbers, where are they in their policy development," Medley explained. "Are they going to be able to have that certificate of occupancy, which is a requirement for them to be able to have students in the building."
Flemington Academy says it needs an enrollment waiver because it serves a special population. Many of the students in the school, run by Boys and Girls Homes, are in the custody of social services.
While not taking action, State Board members said they will make their decisions with children in mind.
"We want to protect the students," Alcorn said. "That's the most important thing for us."
The State Board is expected to vote on the waiver requests at its next meeting, April 30 and May 1.
Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard