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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It seemed that D.C. Virgo Middle School was on the fast track to become a charter school next year. However, as of Wednesday, the North Carolina Public Charter School Advisory Council denied the school’s application for charter status. The NCPCSA says the application was incomplete. New Hanover County School Board chairman Donald Hayes says the denial was a shock but the show must go on.

“It doesn’t really alter our plans,” said Hayes. “Our plans are to open DC Virgo next year as the Urban Prep Academy, and that’s what we will do.”

Hayes says the school board plans to makes some changes on the application for charter status and reapply. He says D.C. Virgo still fails to get the status, the school will still open under the board’s “plan B.”

“It will just alter the management of the school,” said Hayes. “Instead of having a charter board, controlling the school, it would still be one of our schools under the New Hanover County Board of Education.”

In collaboration with the Blue Ribbon Commission, Hayes says he thinks everything will work out fine. He says this does not change the plan to open the school; the board will just adapt the course it will take to get to the final destination.

“Bottom line that I want to make very plain is that it’s not really going to alter what we’re going to do there and it will open next year as the Virgo Urban Prep Academy,” said Hayes. “The management end of it might be a little different but what we hope to accomplish there will be the same.”

The board has not been told why it was denied the charter status yet but should be getting official reasons soon. It plans to discuss the next move at the January school board meeting.


WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — New Hanover County Schools found out today that the fast-track application for the D.C. Virgo Urban Prep Academy Charter School was not approved by the North Carolina Public Charter School Advisory Council. The application passed its initial review yesterday by a sub-committee; however, when the application came before the entire board today, it was denied with the primary reason being concerns about the design of the governance of the proposed charter school board.

“Obviously we are disappointed that it was not approved as a charter school. However, we do not consider this an end of the project. We will tweak what we are doing to fit a public school model and move forward,” said Dr. Tim Markley, superintendent of New Hanover County Schools.

“I value our partnership with the Blue Ribbon Commission and we are committed to making this school partnership work and to opening it in the fall of 2012, Dr. Markley added.

Dr. Markley stated he has not received the official reasoning yet, but he has been informed that they referenced the lack of specificity in board members and definitive bylaws. As a result, the Council deemed the application incomplete. He will discuss options about D.C. Virgo with the New Hanover County Board of Education at their next regular meeting in January.

Dr. Markley remains committed to having community input into the process of re-establishing D.C. Virgo Middle School and he will recommend that NHCS continues to accept applications for the Virgo board with the intent that the board will now become an advisory board instead of a charter school board.

Comment on this Story

  • Guestsnc

    Blue Ribbon Commission which is involved in the charter school idea — includes very talented people, as well as NHCS administrators. Don’t understand how so many people could have mis-read or mis-understood what was required on the application. Sounds like the charter school concept is a no-go. Now, Virgo will still be a part of NHCS, overseen by the Board of Ed. UNLESS the board is willing to hand over the decision-making fully to an “Academy Board”??

    Earlier this fall there were stories in the news about how some in the community were not trusting of the charter school process, i.e. “is this for real?” How the decision went down — basically because someone who wrote the application didn’t provide enough detail — does not encourage trust in leaders who were promoting the idea.

    It is what it is — as a community we’ll have to make the best of it and move forward.

  • TonyG

    Either the school board just went through the motions with no real intentions of opening a charter school at this location or they are completely incompetent at following simple application instructions. In either case sad, but expected from this current school board.


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