Wilmington charter school gets more time to boost enrollment


RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Douglass Academy’s doors will remain open for now, despite not having enough students.

The Office of Charter Schools today voted to suggest to waive this year’s enrollment numbers. The State Board of Education will make the final decision.

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Thirty-three students attend Douglass Academy in Wilmington. State statute requires at least 65.

“It sounds like they’ve stubbed their toe at every turn,” Office of Charter Schools member Steven Walker said during a hearing today in Raleigh.

Douglass Academy Headmaster Barbra Jones says issues with finding a suitable facility and with marketing are to blame for the low numbers. She said the school also had problems with 6,000 advertisements mailed to homes of potential students, which affected its numbers.

“I’ve been told from several people in the community that they have a wait and see attitude,” said Jones.

Jones says there are 77 students enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year.

“We’ve got all the pieces in place,” Douglass board chair John Ferrante said. “It’s happening.”

The Office of Charter Schools will reexamine the number of students October.

Jones told the board Douglass Academy had issues with identifying a building for the school. She says this caused doubt in the target demographic the school aims to serve, which are the different public housing communities around the city.