The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday February 4th

Carrboro charter school plans put on hold

Danita Mason-Hogans has spent more than two years trying to open the Howard & Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School in Carrboro.

But her efforts hit a roadblock earlier this month when the charter school’s partnership with National Heritage Academies fell through, halting plans to open the school, which was originally slated to open in August.


April 13, 2012
The charter school board submitted its application to the State Board of Education.

Sept. 6, 2012
State Board of Education gave the school preliminary approval.

March 14
School obtained its charter.

March 19
National Heritage Academies backs out of partnership.

National Heritage Academies had committed to provide the school with management services, such as marketing and recruiting, but backed out on March 19 due to a conflict over land.

“The NHA told us they could not work with us anymore because of land acquisition problems,” said Mason-Hogans, vice-chairwoman of the school’s board.

“We wanted to lease land for the school, but the NHA’s expectations differed from ours, which is why they pulled out of the partnership.”

Without the help of National Heritage Academies, plans for the Lee Charter School — which aims to close the racial achievement gap —have been put on hold.

Nick Paradiso, vice president of government relations and partner services for National Heritage Academies, said in a March 19 press release that the organization admires everyone who tried to get the school started.

“It has been our privilege to work with them,” Paradiso said.

Despite the setback, Joel Medley, director of the N.C. Board of Education’s Office of Charter Schools, said the board’s focus has not changed.

“The board has indicated that they are still committed to opening the school in Carrboro,” Medley said.

The six-person board, made up entirely of volunteers, remains intact.

“Our goal is to produce a quality product for the families of Chapel Hill, which is what everyone on the school’s board is very passionate about,” Mason-Hogans said.

The board is in the process of making a concrete plan for what the next steps should be for the school.

“The loss of the partnership has been a difficult stumbling block, but we don’t see it as the end to our efforts,” Mason-Hogans said.

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