CHAPEL HILL –The National Heritage Academies released a press release today announcing it has backed-out as the management firm for the Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School.
“After much consideration, National Heritage Academies has made the difficult decision not to move forward with the proposed school. ….We have the utmost admiration for Howard and Lillian Lee, the members of the school board, and the many others we have partnered with in the community to try to bring this school to life,” according to a press release issued by the National Heritage Academies.
But Joel Medley of the North Carolina Office of Charter Schools said he was not notified of this development.
“This is really late for them in the middle of March. The school is slated to open in August. It raises questions about the facility so we’re seeing where they are in being able to open in August of 2013,” Medley explained.
Medley says if a new management firm were to take over, that would require approval from the State Board of Education.
Now that the National Heritage Academies management firm has backed out, it is not known when or even if the school will open. It was originally expected to open in August 2012 after receiving approval from the state. Construction of a new building was set for a site in Carrboro at Claremont South; that property is being developed by Omar Zinn of Parker Louis, LLC.
Calls to Zinn’s office have not been returned.
The Chapel Hill News reports that National Heritage Academies has removed itself from the proposed school that has seen multiple delays with problems finding a building to house its classrooms.
Lee Scholars was originally expected to open in August 2012 after receiving approval from the state to fast-track its opening. A 48,000 square-foot building was scheduled to be constructed on a seven-acre parcel of land in Carrboro called Claremont South; that property is being developed by Omar Zinn of Parker Louis, LLC. It was recently rezoned from residential-only after an approval by the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.
During the first BoA meeting of March, Zinn asked the Aldermen to delay the date of a public hearing about the property. That more than likely will delay the construction of the building that is already losing time to be available for an August opening.
NHA has opened more than 70 schools across America, mostly in its home state of Michigan.
The local NAACP was apposed to the application of the school stating that it could appear segregated due to its focus on low-income populations.
The status of the school’s opening is unknown at this time.http://chapelboro.com/news/national-heritage-academies-pulls-out-of-lee-scholars-charter-school-agreement