Local News

Charter Revoked for School Inside Wake Jail

Posted January 4, 2007

The John Baker Charter School is located inside the Wake County Jail. Now, after nine years, the school has lost its charter.

In a unanimous decision, the state Board of Education revoked the charter for the school on Thursday. Problems with the school designed for incarcerated students first surfaced in 2005.

An investigation showed the school excluded eligible students, conducted school outside of the jail at numerous sites, and failed to keep accurate attendance records. The main concern for officials was that the school could have received tax dollars for students who didn't exist.

“The state Board of Education has an obligation to make sure that public monies are spent in the proper way, and we had to act on this,” said board member Kathy Taft.

No one from the school would comment Thursday about the board’s decision. However, the school's lawyer did tell WRAL: “We are very, very disappointed with the state Board of Education’s (decision) to revoke the charter. We believe we have corrected or are in the process of correcting every issue that the state board had problems with."

A new board of directors has been put in place at the school, and the school’s lawyer said an appeal of the decision is possible

Members of the state board said what happened with the Baker School was unfortunate. It might not be a charter school after June of this year, but officials said the students will keep learning,

“The people who are involved with John H. Baker are not going to stop providing services for these students,” Taft said. “They're good people and they have good intentions and they're going to make sure these students get what they need.”

The school will continue to operate through June 30. After that, school leaders had said before the state board acted, students would still be able to complete course work through other programs, but they will not be able to get a diploma.
State lawmakers passed the law creating charter schools in 1997. Since then, this is the eighth school to have had its charter revoked. Most have been for noncompliance issues.

One of the schools that had its charter revoked was in Wake County. The Bonner Academy lost its charter in 1997 because state officials said it didn't provide required financial and academic records.

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • superman Jan 5, 2007

    So where what rock you been hiding under. The NC Dept of Community Collegs has been getting money to serve inmates in prisons for the last 30 years all over the state of North Carolina. Almost every prison unit and community college in the state is receiving money to serve inmates. Wake Tech is serving inmates all over Wake County in every prison including the Wake County Jail. Community colleges in North Carolina have special departments to supervisor and enroll inmates in their program. Not only GED programs, but all sorts and types of vocational training ie-- bricklaying, cosmotogly, electrial wiring, heating and air. You name it-- community colleges are in the prisons serving inmates. Your money is being spent for inmates in jail and prison- The Charter school was just another source of funding for program already in existence by Wake Tech at the jail.

  • narck9 Jan 5, 2007

    I refuse to spend one penny of my tax dollars to fund a program that gives education to career criminals. They are in jail to await trial. They are not there to get a high school diploma. I for one am greatful to the state board of education for making this decision.

  • ahirshp Jan 5, 2007

    He was sheriff for 24 years, and Wake county Sheriff's department was at it's worst while he was there. Praise God for Harrison! Also, his "Charter School" was a crock! Lets teach criminals, make them smarter, so next time they can be smarter while committing a crime and get away with it. With our school system struggling as it is, please lets not waste our tax dollars on teaching criminals. They have had their chance in school and they obviously blew it.

  • love32acupIBTC Jan 4, 2007

    OMG-- sorry, you must be newbie to raleigh. John Baker was past sheriff of Wake County, whom has been defeated in the past 2 elections. Prior, he was sheriff for seems like 40 straight years :)

  • DOG Jan 4, 2007

    Who is John Baker?