District 26 shuns charter school proposal

Posted3/20/2012 5:53 PM

A proposal to open a charter school in Cary Elementary District 26 was unanimously rejected Monday by the school board after receiving a failing grade from the district's administration.

District 26 Superintendent Brian Coleman said the proposal from the Vision Group, a Crystal Lake nonprofit that planned to open a charter school for students in grades kindergarten through the fifth grade was lacking in almost every aspect. The group had proposed purchasing the former Maplewood School in downtown Cary.


"Based on the Administration's assessment of the Charter School Proposal in relation to the requirements of the Charter Schools Law and the needs of the District, it is the Administration's recommendation to deny the Charter School's proposal," Coleman wrote in a PowerPoint presentation to the board. "This Charter School proposal is not in the best interest of our students, our parents, our District, and the Cary Community."

The administration found that the proposal did not comply with 13 of 14 requirements under the state's charter school law including offering clear goals, objectives and performances, plans for transportation and evidence of community support.

The lone requirement the charter school proposal met was establishing an effective date and term length. Vision Group had planned to open the Concord Charter Academy in the fall of 2013.

Coleman also said the charter school did not provide a clear rationale for choosing District 26 as the site for the group's first charter school and also lacked rigorous levels of achievement and plans for student success in attaining those levels. It also did not indicate what would be taught at each grade level, and information on textbooks or materials was not provided, Coleman said.

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Furthermore, Coleman said, the proposal was lacking in originality and innovative development and lacked a curriculum for students with disabilities and English language learners.

But Terry Trobiani, president of Vision Group, said in an email that the all of the information the district said the group did not provide was "all nicely outlined in the application that each board member had."

At a public hearing last month, a majority of the community members implored the district to deny the application. Some said they would be open to a charter school, just not the current applicant.

The Vision Group can now appeal the denial to the state board of education, which can either affirm or reverse the district's decision.

"We strongly believe District 26 needs an alternative option for education," Trobiani said in an email. "We will move forward as soon as our option for a building becomes more apparent and we complete our reorganization, which will address all the concerns about our charter that the community identified."

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