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Rejected Charter Applicants Get Second Shot

Lisa Worf

About 40 groups that had their applications for charter schools rejected may get another chance to make their case to education officials. The North Carolina Board of Education decided this week to allow them another shot at an interview

The charter advisory board recommends to the state board which charters should open. Only a third of applicants got past the initial round this year. Many of those rejected felt the process was unfair. 

Groups submit applications which usually number at least a couple hundred pages.  Then the advisory board reviews those applications and decides which ones will move forward. The groups wanting to open schools can be there for that, but they can’t say anything.

“We think there ought to be conversation between the applicant and subcommittees at some point in time,” says Eddie Goodall with the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association. “Give the applicants the chance to correct the sub-committee members who make, we think, many misinterpretations from what they read on pieces of paper.” 

That seems like a fair point to Becky Taylor. She’s on both the state board of education and the charter advisory group. Taylor proposed the motion at this week’s state board meeting.  

“[The charter school advisory] board all had legitimate reasons and felt comfortable with the decisions, however, we didn’t feel good that we were having to deny somebody,” says Taylor. “We want to make sure we had a valid reason for denying that charter.” 

She says it’s not about the state board second-guessing the work of the advisory group. 

Those groups that were rejected can now submit a letter clarifying their applications.  It can only address questions and concerns that came up in that initial review.  The charter advisory board will review those letters and decide whether a group can make it to the interview round.