Can a charter school do a better job of closing the achievement gap than the Chapel Hill0-Carrboro public schools?

We’re about to find out. A new charter school is coming to Chapel Hill and its raising some hackles. Letters opposing the Howard and Lillian Lee Scholastic Charter school named in honor of Chapel Hill’s first black mayor and his wife have been filed by the NAACP and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro board of education.

The application is on what is called a “fast track”, and a decision is expected to be handed down in March by the State Board of Education.

About 500 students from Kindergarten to the 8th grade will pull out of the public schools and enroll in the charter school at a yet unannounced site. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School board claims the schools are making significant strides toward bringing parity between minority students and whites. But apparently not fast enough for some parents of minority students.

The NAACP sides with the school board in opposing the Lee charter school claiming it would lead to resegregation and taking a step backward in progress that has been made thus far.

All of this comes at a time when the issue of overcrowding in the elementary schools may require redistricting. But reducing enrollment by 500 students would considerably east that overcrowding situation if not solve it entirely.

The charter school offers parents a choice they didn’t have before, and there’s less bureaucracy and red tape. A little competition is good, so welcome the Howard and Lillian Lee Charter School to Chapel Hill.