Charter school possibility on school board’s agenda

By: By T.C. Hunter - [email protected] - and Bob Shiles - [email protected]

LUMBERTON — An initiative that would turn at least one county public school into a charter school and a request for school-owned land from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke are on the agenda this evening for the Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County.

The board will meet at 6 p.m at Lumberton City Hall, located at 500 N. Cedar St.

The Innovative School District initiative is listed under Information Items on the board’s agenda. Board Chair Peggy Wilkins-Chavis said Monday the school board knows little about the state program and hopes to learn more at today’s meeting.

The North Carolina Innovative School District was launched this year, according to information from the state Department of Public Instruction. Forty-eight schools from across 21 districts are being considered for participation beginning in the 2018-19 school year. The district is focused “on improving student and school outcomes in low-performing schools by creating a collaborative and accountable partnership with school districts and local communities.”

Eric Hall will be the district’s superintendent.

“These schools represent school districts from across the state that can benefit from the diverse strategies and interventions made available by the NC Innovative School District,” Hall said is a DPI news release. “Once the school selection process is complete, we will be partnering with local communities and districts to examine how we can together and create innovative conditions that will help students to improve their academic achievement.”

“Once the selection process is complete, the NCISD superintendent will work with the local community, school districts and the parents and families to identify and match a qualified charter management organization (CMO) or education management organization (EMO) to run the Innovative school under contract with the State Board of Education for a period of five years,” the DPI news release reads in part.

There are two charter schools in the 42-school system, Southeastern Academy and CIS Academy.

The land request from UNCP involves a 1.13-acre track that is being used as a gravel parking lot located behind CIS Academy and adjacent to Shining Stars Preschool.

“This lot has graciously been made available to the university for a number of years at a nominal rate,” UNCP Chancellor Robin Cummings wrote in an Aug. 3 letter sent to school board members.

“As you may know, during the most recent legislative session, UNC Pembroke was the recipient of $10.0 million to be used for the ‘comprehensive renovation and repurposing of West Hall.’ Part of the planning related to this renovation includes the desire of the university to obtain this property in order to potentially reestablish a main entrance to West Hall. Therefore, the university is interested in the permanent acquisition of this property so it can be incorporated into all future planning of the West Hall renovation,” the letter reads in part.

“The ‘West Hall’ project is intended to make that building an instructional innovation learning hub on our campus,” said Jodi Phelps, executive director of UNCP Communications & Marketing

By T.C. Hunter

[email protected]

and Bob Shiles

[email protected]

Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974 and Bob Shiles at 910-416-5165.

Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974 and Bob Shiles at 910-416-5165.