Charter Schools Review Board Archives - North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools

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

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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.

Fast Facts on the new Charter Schools Review Board

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The state’s new Charter Schools Review Board (CSRB) meets for the second time today and tomorrow in Raleigh. This summer state lawmakers created the Review Board through Session Law 2023-110 (formerly H.B. 618), giving it the authority to authorize and renew charter schools in North Carolina. The law converts the former Charter Schools Advisory Board (CSAB) to the Review Board, maintaining continuity in membership.

Previously, CSAB made recommendations to the State Board of Education on charter applications and renewals, but did not have the authority to make final decisions as a charter authorizer.

At today’s meeting, members welcomed Alex Granados as the State Superintendent’s new designee to the Review Board. Prior to his service as a special advisor at the Department of Public Instruction, Alex served as the senior reporter for EdNC, covering education in North Carolina for more than eight years.

For the 2023 year, the Review Board has set the following leadership offices and committees:

  • Chair: Bruce Friend (committee floater)
  • Vice Chair: John Eldridge

Performance Committee

Policy Committee

  • John Eldridge, Chair
  • Stephen Gay
  • Todd Godbey
  • Eric Sanchez
  • Shelly Shope (also a Coalition Board member)

At this month’s meeting, the Review Board is interviewing 2023 charter applicants and reconsidering two applicants that the State Board of Education denied in 2023. These applicants are American Leadership Academy-Monroe and Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy.

Learn more about the new Review Board’s duties and responsibilities–and the 2023 charter application process by clicking on the image below.

CSRB October 2023 Applications Presentation

Response to Governor’s veto of H.B. 618, Charter Schools Review Board

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The Coalition on Monday released a response to Governor Cooper’s veto of H.B. 618, Charter School Review Board. We are sharing our response in full below. Access a pdf version of the press release here.

Gov. Cooper Wrong to Denounce Charter School Supervisors

Raleigh, NC – On Friday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill to streamline the approval process for public charter schools by creating a new Charter Schools Review Board.

In his veto message, Gov. Cooper used unnecessarily charged language to attack public charter school supervisors, calling the new board a “commission of political friends and extremists.”

We’re a bipartisan organization that has praised, endorsed, and otherwise supported both Democrats and Republicans. But when a policymaker, even the Governor, makes such a wrongheaded public statement, we feel compelled to respond.

The new board created by House Bill 618 would be appointed in the same exact manner as the body it partly replaces, the Charter Schools Advisory Board (CSAB).

CSAB is not comprised of hacks and “extremists,” as Gov. Cooper would have people believe. Taken together, CSAB’s eleven members have 295 years of combined education experience, including in managing and overseeing public charter schools.

CSAB’s chair, Bruce Friend, has been an education professional for 30 years. One member is a professor at N.C. State University with a doctorate in financial economics. Another operates one of the longest-serving charter schools in the state and has a doctorate in education. The list goes on.

It appears that Gov. Cooper’s basis for attacking the new Charter Schools Review Board is the fact that the legislature would appoint a majority of its members.

Even though Gov. Cooper appoints a majority to the State Board of Education, we have not, nor would we ever, call that body a “commission of political friends and extremists.”

The Board of Education’s chair is an engineer by training. Its vice chair is a partner at a law firm. Despite those backgrounds, we consider both to be qualified and capable members, not mere “political friends” to the Governor.

And despite past controversies involving the State Board of Education, we do not consider its members to be “extremists.”

Gov. Cooper’s statement about public charter school supervisors was off the mark. Public charter schools offer North Carolina children innovative curricula. They complement, rather than compete with, district schools.

Those who oversee public charter schools approach their work with rigor and good faith. They deserve to be treated as the professionals they are.

Contact: pat@ryanpublicrelations.com