Local News

Torchlight Academy's charter renewed

Posted March 5, 2009 12:15 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— The state Board of Education on Thursday morning accepted a committee’s recommendation to renew Torchlight Academy’s charter for two years, but with conditions.

The school had governance, financial and accountability issues, N.C. Office of Charter Schools Director Jack Moyer said.

The renewal comes with restrictions, including yearly audits and the development of a restructuring plan.

“We want to see the school succeed. If they don’t improve, then it’s time to close the school down,” Moyer said.

The predominantly black school, with an enrollment of 380 students, has been under the financial microscope following an audit and low test scores.

It was found to be among the lowest-performing charter schools statewide in a North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research report in 2007.

The report recommended that schools not meeting expected academic growth for five straight years be placed on probation for two years and then closed if they don't reach it.

Torchlight has now met academic requirements two years in a row.

Don McQueen, executive director of Torchlight Academy, said officials visited other schools with similar demographics and took notes on the successes they were having. Strategies included extending the school day, instituting Saturday classes and tutoring.