CHAPEL HILL – The confusion surrounding the status of the Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Charter School continues to grow.

Friday was the deadline set by the North Carolina Office of Charter Schools for the school’s board members to answer questions asked about its recent split from its managing firm, the National Heritage Academies.

On March 19, the day the NHA announced it was pulling out of the project, the state Office of Charter Schools sent a letter to board members asking for clarification about the separation, setting the deadline for March 29.


Being that the deadline was on Good Friday, calls to see if the school board had responded to the letter went unanswered.  And without a managing firm, the opening of the school is in question. It was originally slated to open in August of this year.

Joel Medley, the director of the state Office of Charter Schools, said if a new management firm were to take over, that would require approval from the State Board of Education.

No one was available to take calls in Medley’s office on Friday so we don’t know if the school’s board members responded to the letter.

Jeanne Kirschner, a former board member, confirmed she is no longer on the board, and could not provide any updates.

Construction of a new building was set for a site in Carrboro at Claremont South; a property that’s being developed by Omar Zinn of Parker Louis, LLC. During the first BoA meeting of March, Zinn asked the Aldermen to delay the date of a public hearing about the property.

Calls to Zinn’s office have not been returned.

The project’s engineer, George Retschle, Vice President of Ballentine Associates, declined to comment.

WCHL will keep you updated on any new information as it becomes available.