News: CJ Exclusives

State Board Meets to Map Negotiations With Moore County Charter School

Chairman Harrison to lead talks; board would not discuss strategy publicly

The State Board of Education met via telephonic conference call on Wednesday to map out its strategy for upcoming mediation sessions with a Moore County charter school the board had previously tried to shut down.

The board had voted in March not to renew the charter of the Academy of Moore County, citing poor student performance, but the school won a stay of the board’s action in an administrative law hearing last week.

The stay means that the charter school will be allowed to continue operations this coming school year while it makes its case that the board’s March decision was arbitrary or capricious.

In his order granting the stay, Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison ordered the board and the school to try to work out their differences in mediation before proceeding to trial.

In Wednesday’s meeting, the board went into closed session to discuss mediation strategy, and at the conclusion of the closed portion of the meeting voted unanimously to empower board chairman Bill Harrison to act on the board’s behalf during mediation. Neither Harrison nor attorney Laura Crumpler would speak about the board’s strategy in the upcoming talks.

The mediation sessions are expected to be conducted sometime in July, and will be overseen by retired state Appeals Court Judge Ralph Walker.

Jim Stegall is a contributor to Carolina Journal.