Education

NC charter panel to hear from Thunderbird Prep on Thursday

Thunderbird Prep Principal Emmanuel Vincent shows families a closet where mice were found and talks about efforts to remedy mold and rodents.
Thunderbird Prep Principal Emmanuel Vincent shows families a closet where mice were found and talks about efforts to remedy mold and rodents. JDHud@charlotteobserver.com

After a communication bungle led to a charter revocation vote two weeks ago, the North Carolina Charter School Advisory Board has scheduled a special meeting Thursday to hear from representatives of Thunderbird Preparatory Academy.

Representatives of the Cornelius school, which opened two years ago, had been summoned to a June 14 meeting to discuss problems that included large debt, academic weakness and possible health and safety problems related to mold and rodent droppings.

Advisory board members were irate when no one appeared. The board reached board Chair Peter Mojica by phone; he said the board was not aware of the meeting and asked for a chance to reschedule. The advisory board initially declined and voted unanimously to recommend revoking the charter, which would stop public funding to Thunderbird.

The final decision lies with the State Board of Education, which is scheduled to discuss the matter in July and vote in August. State officials say they expect Thunderbird to be able to open in August.

Thunderbird had about 500 students in K-5 last year and received more than $3 million in state and local money. In 2016-17, the school plans to add sixth-graders.

Last week, the advisory board held a closed-session conference call with its attorney; one board member said that call was related to Thunderbird.

The agenda for Thursday’s special meeting, which is open to the public, says the board “may take action” after hearing from Thunderbird representatives.

The board will convene at 9 a.m. Thursday at the state Education Building, 301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh. Meetings are audiostreamed live; find a link at http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/live-audio-streaming.

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

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