Board votes to shut down Raleigh charter school

The State Board of Education has moved to shut down the only charter school in North Carolina focused exclusively on students with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The board voted Thursday to initiate revocation of the charter for Dynamic Community Charter School, which opened last fall in northwest Raleigh.

Dynamic officials plan to appeal the decision. The school, which serves nearly 70 students in middle and high school, is expected to remain open for the rest of the school year.

The state cited financial troubles and concerns about how Dynamic administers programs for special-needs students in its recommendation for revocation.

The most recent budget documents reported by the state show a projected budget deficit of more than $250,000. School officials say the gap is now closer to $75,000.

Families have turned out in strong support of the school. They say the students have grown academically and socially.

Bailey Gladden, 15, a ninth-grader at Dynamic, said he’s been able to make new friends at the school and feels more engaged in the classroom.

“It doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. “You will be taught, you will learn.”

Laura Kay Berry, chairwoman of Dynamic’s board of directors, said the state knew the school would need additional financial support from the community. School officials haven’t had enough time to build those resources, and the threat of closure has made the situation even harder, she said.

Berry also said Dynamic has received conflicting information from the state, making it tough to comply with laws about how lessons for students with special needs are structured.

William Cobey, chairman of the state board, said the troubles at Dynamic may stem from a statute that’s not equipped for a school with a high number of special-needs students.

“I think at a minimum the legislature needs to take another look,” he said.

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