Charter Day School leader speaks about ‘Financial Probationary Status’
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The chairman for the board of trustees for Charter Day School says the company’s The Financial Probationary Status should be resolved soon.
The company was put on the probationary status when a motion passed at a meeting Thursday. It comes after Charter Day School, Inc., failed to provide state regulators with information, including salaries, of employees in their schools that are paid by Roger Bacon Academy, which manages the schools. CDS says it has never had the information the Department of Public Instruction requested in August, because it is proprietary to RBA. CDS and RBA were both founded by businessman Baker Mitchell, share a bank account and a location in Leland.
“We received the letter from the state yesterday afternoon, we forwarded it to Roger Bacon and requested again the information that we had requested before and I know that they are considering it and deciding with their own attorney’s what the appropriate thing is to do,” Chairman John Ferrante said.
CDS was supposed to submit the information by Sept. 30, but failed to include everything requested. DPI then gave the company more time to comply with the request. Late last month, an attorney for RBA responded to the state request in a letter saying it “appears to overreach the specific charter language asserted.” The attorney also argued audits the schools must undergo should satisfy any state and federal requirements.
He did, though, say RBA would be willing to submit the information either under a confidentiality agreement with DPI or, if given more time to wait for a legal opinion and time to review, submit it without a confidentiality agreement as trade secrets protected under state law.
Thursday’s motion, which was opposed by only one board member, directs DPI “to shorten the time for compliance under Probationary Status from 30 calendar days to 10 business days. At the conclusion of 10 business days, if Charter Day School Inc. has not complied, it will be placed in Financial Disciplinary Status.”
According to State Board of Education policy TCS-U-006, while in probationary status and disciplinary status, state funds for the school may be allotted on a monthly basis. Policy also leaves open the door for other consequences if issues are not resolved.
“We are a very strong financial conditioned school. We don’t have any financial issues. Our audits are very clean every year. This is just the next evolution in the disclosure of salary information. I would not be surprised to see next year in the general assembly people arguing for more disclosure,” Ferrante said.
CDS holds the charter for four schools in the area: Charter Day School in Leland, Columbus Charter School in Whiteville, South Brunswick Charter School in Southport and Douglass Academy in Wilmington.
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