All satisfied as Southeastern ends the enrollment process
by Kelly Mayo Staff writer
LUMBERTON —The state Office of Charter Schools and the executive director of an organization that filed a complaint against Southeastern Academy last month are both satisfied with the just-finished enrollment process for the new charter school.
“A representative from my office was there at the lottery,” said Joel Medley, the state office’s director. “The school did run its lottery well.”
About 75 parents and students attended the lottery on Monday to see which students were selected for the last 30 slots available for the 2013-2014 school year.
Principal Caroline Williamson said grades kindergarten through fifth had three open slots each, and grades sixth through eighth had four open slots each. For each grade, Williamson announced the names of all the students who had applied, and then pulled names from the container and announced the winners.
The first students called grabbed a spot on class rosters, and the rest made it onto the school’s waiting list, where they may be able to enroll if a student drops out or is unable to attend school this year.
Southeastern re-opened its enrollment period and expanded class sizes last week at the direction of the Office of Charter Schools.
The Durham-based Coalition for Social Justice filed a complaint against the school last month on behalf of the Center for Community Action, a Lumberton nonprofit. Southeastern was accused of violating its charter by not giving parents enough time or information to enroll their children.
The Rev. Mac Legerton, the executive director of the Center for Community Action, said this morning he was satisfied with what the school has done.
“We’re very pleased that the additional days for registration and the lottery went as planned,” he said.
After the lottery, Williamson directed parents whose children achieved a spot to the library to pick up an application packet, and told parents whose children did not make it in that “if a spot opens up, we’ll give you a call.”
Shannon Holmes said she was “very happy” that her son Seth got a spot in second grade.
“I thought it was fair,” she said.
For Ashley Broadway, who lives in Lumberton, it was a split decision. Her son Brandon got into eighth grade, but her daughter Lauren didn’t get a spot in the first grade.
“That’s OK,” she said. “She goes to Tanglewood, so I wasn’t too concerned about that being an issue.”
Broadway said her son had a good chance to get in because there were four slots available and five students trying to get them.
“There were a lot [of grades] who had 14 or 15 [students trying to get in],” she said.
Williamson said she is ready to start school after all the turmoil concerning the selection process.
“If there’s a silver lining, it’s that people want to be at Southeastern,” she said.
Southeastern received charter status on March 7, joining Communities in Schools in Pembroke as Robeson County’s only charter schools. That became possible when the General Assembly lifted a cap on the number of charter schools in the state.
A breakdown of the academy’s racial makeup was not available, but school officials said that information would be provided to The Robesonian next week. It was characterized as “diverse.”
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