NC education board revokes Raleigh school's charter
Posted March 5, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Education voted Thursday to revoke the charter of a Raleigh school that caters to children with developmental disabilities, citing "grave operational, financial and governance concerns."
The decision upheld the recommendation of the state Charter School Advisory Board, which found that Dynamic Community Charter School had dug itself too deep a financial hole in its first year of operation to climb out.
Dynamic opened last year to serve middle- and high-school students and is the only public charter school in North Carolina exclusively for students with autism and other disabilities.
State officials have been monitoring the school for months, expressing concerns about its financial viability, and the state Department of Public Instruction gave the school a list of issues needing attention in December.
Officials said Dynamic had a $250,000 deficit by January and noted that it could double by the end of the school year because of extra services the school needs to provide to its students and teacher licensure issues.
"The State Board of Education has a responsibility to the children, first and foremost, to ensure they have teachers, to ensure that they have safe buildings," Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said. "When the board sees that’s in jeopardy, it hardly has a choice."
Dynamic students and parents said they would continue to fight for the school's future.
"We’ve not been given the time to raise those resources," said Laura Kay, chairwoman of the school's board of directors. "We knew it would take additional support. Three months in, we’re called to the carpet on the deficit."
Kay said the school has whittled its deficit to $75,000, and two teachers are on track to get the licenses they lack.
Student Deven Gregory, 16, said he doesn't know where he will go if Dynamic closes.
"This school is where I belong, where I’m accepted, It’s where I can be who I am and not be judged," said Gregory, who has Asperger's syndrome and attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder.
"I hope we can convince them to keep the school open," he said. "If not, I don’t know what I’ll do with my life. I don’t know what I am without Dynamic."
Kay said supporters plan to evaluate their options. The school can appeal and ask the board to reconsider its decision.
"This school is a community, and our children are depending on us," she said.