Charter Review Board Reverses State Board Decision on Union County Charter School

By October 19, 2023 News

The N.C. Charter Schools Review Board voted this week to reverse the State Board of Education’s decision on a prospective charter school. The charter applicant, American Leadership Academy-Monroe, sought approval last year to launch a K-8 campus in Union County. As part of this process, ALA-Monroe successfully secured a recommendation in Fall 2022 from the then-Charter Schools Advisory Board. Despite that recommendation, however, the State Board of Education voted in January 2023 to deny ALA-Monroe’s application.

Review Board empowered to reconsider State Board applicant decisions–and open or close schools

Now, thanks to a new 2023 session law, reconsideration is possible. That law converted the Charter Schools Advisory Board into a Charter Schools Review Board, with authority to open, renew, and revoke charters. In addition, the law includes a provision that allows the Review Board to reconsider applications on which Advisory Board recommendations and State Board decisions differed. The provision does include key stipulations, however: Applicants seeking reconsideration needed to notify the Review Board within 60 days of the law’s enactment. And the timeline for reconsideration includes only those decisions occurring after July 1, 2022.

This week’s reconsideration features both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes for charters

As a result of the new law, ALA-Monroe and another applicant–Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy–applied to the Review Board for reconsideration. At this month’s meeting, school leaders from both prospective schools appeared before the Review Board for Q&A. During ALA-Monroe’s presentation, leaders referenced the school’s robust interest list, which includes over 1,100 students.

The Review Board voted on Tuesday to approve ALA-Monroe’s application. The school now moves directly into the Ready to Open process and is slated for a Fall 2024 launch. Read more about the Review Board’s decision in Yahoo! News and NC Newsline.

Charter One Presentation to the N.C. Charter Schools Review Board, October 17, 2023.

For Heritage Collegiate, however, the Review Board on Wednesday voted to uphold the State Board’s denial. As a result, this charter applicant will not move forward.