Education

North Carolina’s 2 charter school groups will merge

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory spoke at a 2014 school choice rally in Charlotte, accompanied by students from Sugar Creek Charter School.
N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory spoke at a 2014 school choice rally in Charlotte, accompanied by students from Sugar Creek Charter School. The Charlotte Observer

Two groups representing North Carolina’s burgeoning charter school movement announced Friday they will merge.

“By joining together, we can focus on providing the support charter schools need so they can deliver the education our students deserve,” Lisa Gordon Stella, board chair of the Raleigh-based N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said in a notice of the merger.

The Charlotte-based N.C. Public Charter Schools Association split from the alliance a few years ago because of clashes between association founder Eddie Goodall, a former state senator from Union County, and alliance founder Baker Mitchell, who runs a chain of charter schools in southeastern North Carolina.

Goodall hinted at the merger early this month, when he stepped aside as executive director of the association, saying he needed to get out of the way so charter schools could have a united voice. Lee Teague, a former Charlottean who now works in Raleigh, became executive director of the association and will be interim director as the two groups complete the merger.

The consolidated group is expected to debut this summer. Meanwhile, the alliance will host its annual charter school conference in Charlotte March 9-11.

Since the state lifted the 100-school cap in 2011, Charlotte has been at the center of growth for the independently run public schools. About 15,500 Mecklenburg County students attend charter schools this year, a number that’s expected to grow by about 2,700 next year.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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