Local education group to shut down, citing cash flow problems

Posted April 28, 2016
Updated May 4, 2016

North Carolina New Schools, a nonprofit that has helped coach teachers and principals at nearly 100 high schools in the state and has received millions of dollars in funding, is shutting down.

In a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman said the organization will close Friday due to "financial issues focused on cash flow."

"NC New Schools had grown rapidly in recent years," communications director Kimberly Hofman-McEnaney wrote. "(The) business model of negotiating fees for services with schools, subsidized by donations and grants, ultimately proved to be unsustainable."

Seventy full-time and two part-time employees were notified Thursday and will be paid through the end of this week. President Tony Habit resigned Wednesday. He did not respond to requests for comment.

NC New Schools is based in Research Triangle Park and has received millions of dollars in donations and federal grants since it began in 2003, including nearly $26 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a $20 million grant in 2014 and a $15 million grant in 2011 from the U.S. Department of Education.

WRAL News contacted the federal government to find out the status of those grants but has not heard back.

Capitol Broadcasting, WRAL's parent company, is listed as a donor on the group's website.

NC New Schools has worked with schools across the country in the creation and support of early college high schools, a hybrid model that blends high school and the first two years of college. The group embeds staff members in the schools to help train and coach teachers and principals.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has worked with the organization for more than a decade, according to Deputy State Superintendent Rebecca Garland. She said the department heard about the closing Thursday morning.

"We really have not had a chance to assess the impact yet," Garland said. "We actually have employees from DPI that are housed there (at NC New Schools). We have four positions that have been there since the beginning of the early college movement."

Those four employees will keep their jobs, she said, but will be relocated to DPI's headquarters in downtown Raleigh.

Garland said NC New Schools has done "outstanding work in terms of changing classroom practice and helping to improve student outcomes in early colleges."


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  • Marcie Waltz Kelly May 3, 2016
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    What does this mean for our students? Those who are finished with their high school courses and are currently taking college courses, what's going to happen to them, their future and their education!

  • Thomas White Apr 29, 2016
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    The staff level just seems unrealistic 70 fulltime employees. Just the 3 grants listed show $61 million. I would bet that management was getting to big a cut of the money.

  • Catherine Brown Apr 29, 2016
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    Where did over 50 MILLION dollars go?????? Something stinks.