State revokes school’s charter
BY AMELIA HARPER
Rocky Mount Telegram
Monday, November 12, 2018
ROCKY MOUNT — The newest charter school in the Twin Counties may be closing soon after its charter was revoked by the state.
Upon the recommendation of the Office of Charter Schools, the State Board of Education voted Nov. 1 to revoke the charter of Global Achievers School, Dave Machado, director of the state Office of Charter Schools, confirmed Thursday.
‘The charter was revoked because the school does not have enough students to operate,” Machado said. “The state requires that a charter school have at least 80 students, and they have less than 70.”
Lisa Swinson, the head of Global Achievers School, said that the school currently has an average daily membership of 63 students.
“We had more than 80 students when we opened this year, but some of those students pulled out when we had to change the location of the school,” Swinson said. “Before the school opened, we had roughly 230 people express interest in the school, so we felt confident the numbers would be there.”
The school opened in August on the campus of the old Spaulding Resource Center in Spring Hope. For the first days, students met primarily in the gymnasium as they awaited mobile units the school planned to lease until renovations could be made to the main school building. But the financing for those units fell through.
Since then, the school has been meeting at 113 Trevathan St. in Rocky Mount, the site of the old Falls Road Baptist Church School. The move from Spring Hope to Rocky Mount caused transportation issues for some families, Swinson said.
“We are using a shuttle to bring students from the Spring Hope campus here, but some parents felt the bus ride was too long,” she said.
Swinson said she plans to appeal the decision of the State Board of Education, as is the right of the school.
“Another school recently appeared before the Office of Charter Schools with fewer than 80 students and they were not recommended for closure,” Swinson said. “And the State Board of Education only heard about our current numbers. They did not hear about the fact that we had to move to another location temporarily. So we feel we have a good case for an appeal.”
Swinson said the school has been working on plans to renovate the Spaulding location and will continue with that plan if the appeal saves the school. For now, it is a waiting game.
Machado agreed that he feels the move to Rocky Mount was a factor in the drop in enrollment. But he also said he believes his office made the right decision based on the laws of the state. The appeals process will take about 30 to 60 days, he said. If those appeals are exhausted and the revocation of the charter stands, the school will have roughly 30 days to close its doors.
‘We work with schools in these cases to help smooth the transition,” Machado said. “The school will also work with students to help them get established in other schools.”
For now, Swinson said the school is operating as usual.
“We have been very transparent with our parents about what is going on and they have been very supportive,” she said. “None of the students have left the school since the state made its decision.”
If the worst happens and the school is forced to close, Swinson said the financial situation will be fine.
“We have been operating on state funds based on our average daily membership,” Swinson said. “We are leasing the buildings, so if we do have to close, we won’t be in debt to anyone.”
But Swinson said she expects the situation will be resolved.
“We are still very hopeful,” she said. “There is usually a long list of things that cause a charter school to close and we only have this one issue. We feel confident the appeal will be granted.”