Raleigh - All board members and a number of charter volunteers worked throughout the day on Wednesday, November 14, to set the stage for its advocacy efforts in the upcoming legislative session. Chairman Robert Landry reflected on North Carolina’s low ranking for its statutory environment that enhances the ability of charter schools to fulfill their missions.
“A number of elements present in the 1996 law have been eroded by policies and practices counter to good charter governance while innovative approaches that have been developed in other states have not been studied to determine their suitability for North Carolina,” Dr. Landry said. “We currently rank 37th for having a good set of charters laws,” he added.
Dr. Landry listed three universal concerns among all charter school boards: equality of funding; equality of accountability; and freedom from over-reaching regulations that strangle innovation. Board member and former Senator Debbie Clary said that these concerns would be addressed along with how other states are dealing with such issues.
“The Alliance will have a full presence making its recommendations known as solutions to these concerns are being addressed,” Senator Clary said. In addition to her role on the board of the Alliance, Senator Clary is also board chair of the newly authorized Pinnacle Classical Academy charter school in Cleveland County.
Training for boards and administrators is also a major concern of the Alliance that was addressed at the meeting. “Currently all training is conducted in Raleigh during the week by DPI,” said Alliance board member Dr. Grova Bridgers, “Most school board members are volunteers with full-time jobs in their communities and travel and time off are problems,” he said. “The Alliance is proposing that it conduct training workshops locally on weekends so board members do not lose several day’s work traveling to Raleigh,” he explained.
Dr. Bridgers was the first Director of the Office of Charter Schools and oversaw the approval and founding of the first charters schools in the state. “Good leadership training is essential, but I know first-hand the tight budgets and time restrictions under which charter boards have to operate,” he added. “We should be more accommodating to the needs of these dedicated volunteers.”
Other topics covered at the meeting were the 2013 state-wide charter conference to be held at the North Raleigh Hilton on March 21, 22, and 23. The first Call for Papers had gone out and Program Chair Gail Taylor of Carter Community School announced that she had already received a number of proposals. Attendees may register on-line at www.ncpubliccharters.net/events/2013-conference/2013-attendee-registration/ .
Other board members at the meeting were Doug Haynes, Headmaster at Rocky Mount Prep, Les Merritt, CPA and Treasurer for the Alliance, Jane Grosse of Elon Homes School, and Baker Mitchell, board Secretary and Trustee for Charter Day School[O1] .
“Our board meetings are open to all members of the Alliance, and we appreciate the vital contributions of our volunteers,” Dr. Landry stated in conclusion. The North Carolina Alliance for Public Charter Schools is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization with a mission of advancing quality educational opportunities for all North Carolina children by supporting and expanding successful quality public charter schools.