Wake County Schools

Wake schools won't hold leadership academies at Peace

Posted April 12, 2012 3:20 p.m. EDT
Updated April 12, 2012 11:08 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata said Thursday that he is considering alternate locations for two single-gender early college leadership academies that were supposed to open at William Peace University in Raleigh this fall.

The decision comes two days after more than a dozen William Peace alumnae attended a school board meeting to discourage a Wake schools partnership with the university.

The Wake County school system released a statement Thursday evening, saying that they and the university "will continue to discuss in the future...to determine what is in the best interest of both organizations and their students."

The university, however, said in a statement Thursday that it made the decision to dissolve the partnership with Wake schools because of "the division and controversy on the Wake County Public School System board."

Tata sent a letter to parents with children enrolled in the Wake Leadership Academy on Wednesday to reaffirm his commitment to the leadership academies while the school board considers whether William Peace is the best fit for the programs.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, William Peace alumnae cited inadequate facilities and resources to accommodate 300 high school students on campus, in addition to turmoil at the university over a recent restructuring that included a switch from an all-female to a co-ed student body.

Susan Murray, who has a child in the Wake County school system and another at William Peace, said Tuesday that "faculty and student morale is at an all-time low" at the university.

"You will not be welcome there," Murray said. "Everyone resents the fact that college students are being pushed aside for high school students."

In his letter, Tata reassured academy parents that, if the school board decides not to approve a final Memorandum of Agreement with William Peace at its April 24 meeting, "these excellent programs will continue as designed." Earlier this week in an interview he reiterated his support for a single-gender education option for parents and children.

Contingency plans are in place for the 2012-13 school year, he said. The Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy would be held at a modular space on Spring Forest Road and the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy would take place at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind campus near downtown Raleigh.