State board votes to renew 18 NC charter schools, close one school

The State Board of Education voted Thursday to renew 18 North Carolina charter schools and close one charter school, Ignite Innovation Academy in Greenville.

Ignite Innovation Academy opened in 2016 and has been graded an F school all three years, has not met academic growth expectations, had enrollment drop from 235 students to 195 last year and even lower this year, has been issued financial warnings and has been noncompliant in dozens of areas, according to state leaders.

The state board mostly followed a lower board’s recommendations about which charter schools should be renewed and for how long. But they did change one school, Kestrel Heights in Durham, from a maximum 10-year renewal to a five-year renewal.

The state board voted unanimously in April 2017 to close Kestrel Heights high school as punishment for giving unearned diplomas to 40% of its graduates in the previous eight years. The board also required the K-8 portion of the school, which stayed open, to retain an independent professional auditor.

State education leaders have praised Kestrel Heights’ leaders in recent months for changes they’ve made since the diploma errors were reported, including outperforming Durham Public Schools academically for the past three years.

State board members voted on the following renewals Thursday:

10-year renewal

  • Excelsior Classical Academy
  • Henderson Collegiate
  • Lake Lure Classical
  • Northeast Academy of Aero Tech
  • Winterville Charter Academy

7-year renewal

  • Charlotte Lab School
  • KIPP Durham College Prep
  • Mountain Island Charter School
  • PreEminent Charter
  • Queen City STEM School
  • Shining Rock Classical Academy: CFA
  • Youngsville Academy

5-year renewal

  • Kestrel Heights School
  • PAVE Southeast Raleigh Charter School
  • Piedmont Classical High School
  • Wilmington Prep Academy

3-year renewal

  • Rocky Mount Preparatory
  • VERITAS Community School, CFA


  • Ignite Innovation Academy