Local News

Problems Continue For Cumberland County Charter School

Posted November 12, 2000

— It promised smaller classes, advanced computer training and a strong curriculum, but a string of problems has Oma's Inc. Charter School in Cumberland County struggling to make ends meet.

Lorrie Robinson's teenage son, Chester, is a junior at the school. Robinson chose the charter school because she wanted her son to get special attention.

"I had heard so much about charter schools being somewhat better than public schools with smaller classroom sizes," says Robinson.

However since Oma's Inc. opened last year, the school had its share of problems.

A deadly shooting at the school's first location forced students and teachers to move into a office building. Two weeks ago, the charter school submitted its first roster to the school system. That delay held up cash the school needs to pay for teachers and a bus line for students.

"The kids come home and they talk about what they see and hear. They have discussed about teachers fussing about not getting their paycheck," says Robinson.

Carmella Behrens, the school's director, says enrollment is up, teachers are getting paid and the school is not closing down.

Robinson does not know what is in the future for the charter school, but she does know her child's education is depending on it.

"Whatever happens, then I'll have to deal with it," she says.

Grover Bridges from the Charter Schools Advisory Committee says the board's main concern is the schools' money problems. Bridges says he does not expect the school to close down.

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