Charter school hearing date moved to Mon.
WINDSOR – While a temporary restraining order issued by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant against former charter school Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy (HCLA) and its director, Dr. Kashi Bazemore, remains in effect, a date for a hearing on the issuance of a preliminary injunction in the matter has been moved.
Originally set to be heard in Bertie County Superior Court on Friday, Aug. 10, the challenge will now be heard at that same venue on Monday Aug. 13.
Global Education Resources (GER), a charter school management group, has assumed the charter for the school – a first in charter school history. This assumption was granted by the Office of Charter Schools and the North Carolina Department of Education. Once this was done, the management group re-branded the school as Three Rivers Academy.
The assumption has also led to a bitter dispute between the management company and the former school, including Bazemore.
GER is seeking the restraining order in an attempt to recover furniture, equipment, computers, and school-related items including school buses, allegedly in possession by HCLA.
Some of these items have been removed from the HCLA campus site located off County Farm Road in Windsor, but the restraining order calls for their return.
“We had no choice,” said GER group member Don McQueen, administrator of Torchlight Academy in Raleigh. “We just want to get what’s necessary, according to the law that’s already in place, for the continuation of the school. These are things that would have been taken over by the state.”
On Tuesday, a photo said to have been taken by Global Education Resources, and shown to a local media outlet, revealed school buses from HCLA parked on private property in Bertie County. GER says the property where the buses are being stored belongs to Bazemore’s family.
“When you take property and put it on private property with no reasonable communication, then it really becomes a challenge,” McQueen continued. “I know Dr. Bazemore loves the school and she loves the children; I truly believe that and I don’t want to have a public discussion.”
Meanwhile, GER says they are continuing to work toward their original timeline of opening Three Rivers Academy on Aug. 27, with grades Kindergarten-through-6th grade, and an enrollment target of 215 students.
However, no one with GER will say where exactly the school will be located.
It appears Three Rivers Academy will not be housed on the former location of HCLA at the Cashie Convention Center, County Farm Road.
While McQueen will not reveal what sites are under consideration, there is said to be a regulation within the charter school rules stating no charter school can be re-located more than five miles beyond the point of its original designation without approval by the state Board of Education.
“We submitted a letter to the state board requesting their approval, and we expect it will be granted,” said GER member Eugene Slocum of Fayetteville’s Alpha Academy.
“We don’t think that will be a problem,” echoed McQueen.
“It’s possible (the opening) may be delayed one week, but I don’t think that will hurt our time frame,” opined Slocum. “The important thing is to make sure everything is in place. The goal is to start on time, but the ultimate goal is to make sure we do start.”
“There’s lots of interest,” McQueen stated. “Folks are trying to find us and we’re being held up a little bit because we can’t make that final announcement (of a site). We’ve also had several teacher (hiring) inquiries, and we’re trying to get that done as well.”