The Rev. Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, sent this letter to the Office of Charter Schools in opposition to the proposed Lee Scholars Charter School. The school will be considered for approval in the new year. (All text in bold is Campbell's emphasis.)
Dear Application Review Committee:
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP and other concerned citizens of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District (CHCCS) respectfully request that your Committee reject the application for a charter school written by a Grand Rapids, Michigan for-profit corporation, the National Heritage Academies, Inc. (NHA) We just learned the application was endorsed by a group of dedicated people from the Triangle area. We know and respect many of them. It is on the fast track and the NHA proposes to open the school in 9 months.
It is the position of the NAACP and our allies that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District (CHCCS) does not need this School. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP stands ﬁrmly on the position of no diversion of taxpayers' money from our public schools to support the NHA's profiting from building a new school here. We throw our support behind the new superintendent of our schools, Dr. Thomas Forcella, and our new, duly-elected school board to determine the policies and personnel to meet our shared objective of educational success for every student. We believe Supt. Forcella, the Board, and the team he is assembling are committed to work with the community stakeholders to forge a new path to end the achievement gap and advocate for diverse, constitutional, and high quality schools for all of our children.
The NHA did not see fit to inform or check with Dr. Forcella and his staff when it developed the proposal. We urge you to investigate how this proposal was put together, its purposes other than to make a profit for the NHA, and the impact it will have on the plans of the new Superintendent and his team to improve the educational experiences of all the students in our District. The NHA application purports to meet three primary needs the NHA has identiﬁed in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community: 1) close achievement gaps; 2) prepare students for a rigorous high school and college preparatory program; and 3) alleviate overcrowding in elementary schools. On information and belief, the Grand Rapids proposal writers have, in other proposals, stated quite similar “needs” in disparate school districts. Although there are several problems with the application being submitted, we focus on these three “needs” the NHA has identified in our community.