From correspondent Brooks Dareff
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education will discuss a proposed charter school that targets the school district’s achievement gap during its meeting tonight. (See agenda here.)
The Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School advanced to the next stage of the state application process Wednesday as an N.C. Department of Public Instruction committee sent it forward for an interview in January, said Joel Medley, director of the department’s charter schools office. The state board of education will decide on applications in March.
The school would be named for the former Chapel Hill mayor – the South’s first post-Reconstruction black mayor in a predominantly white town – and his wife, herself a former local educator. Lee applicants plan to open what would by its fourth year be a 723-student, kindergarten-through-eighth grade school at an as yet undecided location in August 2012, according to the application.
City Schools Superintendent Thomas Forcella has disputed the applicants’ contention that the school is needed to help close the achievement gap between white students and black and Hispanic students. Forcella also has noted plans for an 11th district elementary school to open in August 2013 in countering applicants’ citing of schools overcrowding. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP has gone on record opposing the charter school, in part because it would divert public money from the school district.
A set of staff recommendations on easing overcrowding in three of the district’s elementary schools for the 2012-13 school year is also among the items on the school board’s agenda. Among the recommendations is spot redistricting one Glenwood Elementary neighborhood to Rashkis, where it would then stay beyond 2012-13.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Chapel Hill Town Hall, located at 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.