Charter school leaders vow to fight closing

Posted February 6, 2014

— Jane Miller has every intention to keep Pace Academy’s doors open, but the state Board of Education has other plans.

The body unanimously voted Thursday not to renew the Carrboro public charter school’s charter.

State officials cited multiple problems, including governance and finances, behind their decision.

Miller, who co-founded the school 10 years ago, said fixes are now in place but understands why officials voted to close the school.

“Directly related to testing and the performance of students,” she said.

She pointed out that more than half of the school’s 157 students have special needs.

“They have a diagnosis of autism, with associated challenges, or they are learning disabled,” Miller said.

Those students are part of the reason why the school was created, said Miller, who added they are being compared to their peers in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

“That school district has the highest performance in the entire state,” she said.

The unfair comparison, Miller said, is why Pace's leaders will appeal the board’s decision.

“I agree, standards are important, but there has to be, there must be a consideration for students not able to meet that bar,” she said.

Pace is one of 127 public charter schools currently operating in North Carolina.

The state Board of Education approved more than 20 public charters last month, including five in Wake County. Harnett and Halifax counties will get their first public charters. Other charters will open in Durham, Orange, Wilson, Wayne and Cumberland counties.

Critics say public charters take funding and some of the best students from traditional public schools while advocates point out they have to do more with less.

Charters do not receive funding for buildings and do not receive state lottery money.


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  • glarg Feb 7, 2014

    "Some say that these students should get special treatment when it comes to testing because they may have a learning disability. Similar students in public schools do not."

    This isnt true- students with IEPs or 504's do get accommodations in both types of schools.

    In this case it sounded like something wasn't working and we decided to stop doing it. Lets apply that principle elsewhere.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 7, 2014

    I love reading all the junk justifications for the endless failure of the PUBLIC schools. Also this nonsense Charter schools take money is just that NONSENSE. The MONEY goes with the student. Time to completely replace the current abysmal public school system, nationwide.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 7, 2014

    If a schools gets to reject whomever they want...of course they have a better chance of succeeding than public schools who have to take *every* child.

    ...including those "difficult" children, children whose parents can't read or write, children whose parents can't afford a computer/internet or even to feed their child 3 meals, etc.

  • sinew1 Feb 7, 2014

    Thank you for shedding some light regarding PACE Academy. There is always more to a it makes sense as to why the BOE chose not to renew citing multiple problems, etc.

  • LoriBelle Feb 7, 2014

    Some say that these students should get special treatment when it comes to testing because they may have a learning disability. Similar students in public schools do not. The students are all treated the same.

    For those of you saying that it's a liberal "thing" to shut it down could not be farther from the truth. Some of my most liberal friends have their children in charter schools. It's not an "us" against "them." Except in your mind.

  • sinew1 Feb 7, 2014

    Miller knows Charter school accreditation is solely base on academic performance. Pupil attrition can lead to financial problems and low academic results. Charter schools are held to stricter governance than public schools. That's why charters can be shut down for under performing.

  • robertgiles1950 Feb 7, 2014

    When Pace was on Legion Road their students all had serious life problems other than learning.....many had already been kicked out of public schools from surrounding area. A handful of former PACE students face serious charges in court. The leadership at PACE had their own problems in that when a teacher could draw the students out and help them deal with life outside of school...then PACE worked for them. The problem was Miller and company were intimidated by such teacher. An effective communicator had no place at PACE..... so PACE fired the teacher...wrongfully I might add.......ended up having to pay the teacher for half a year to not teach.....
    With such fragile young people to work with their front office didn't need to act stupid when they had a teacher who did his job very well and beyond...a job that none of the others teaching there could Miller fires him.
    I agree with Board of Education

  • dlnorri Feb 7, 2014

    Do us a favor and shut down all the charters and end the waste/mis-application of money. I doubt this school is an steller teacher of special needs students of the board would not be going after it so (have they been on probation for a few years??). And as stated, there are governance and finance issues. Somewhere folks are cheering because this opens up an oppotunity for another charter school.

  • Plenty Coups Feb 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    That's the tradeoff. The kids are still going to have to go somewhere and it'll probably be a regular public school as they havve to go somewhere which is why regualr schools don't shut down. Where would the students go? How would they get there?

  • ConservativeVoter Feb 7, 2014

    What about all of the poor performing public schools around North Carolina. They should be held to the same standard, if the kids aren't graduating then close the schools.