by Billy Ball
In a statement Friday, school leaders at PACE Academy said the state board is "relying on faulty and unreliable reports" from its finance officers in recommending closure for the school this year, which has been battling to stave off charter revocation since 2013.
Parents, staff, parents and community leaders will assemble to protest in front of the State Board of Education building—located at 301 N. Wilmington St. in Raleigh—at 10 a.m. on Monday, the school said.
Officials with the state's Office of Charter Schools have repeatedly accused school administrators of shaky finances, poor test results, inaccurate student population counts and non-compliance with a settlement agreement the state reached with PACE last summer.
The publicly-funded school, which opened in 2004 and is popular with its parents, serves students with past disciplinary problems and mental and behavioral disorders.
In its statement Friday, PACE accused the state of denying funding for 80 students over the last two years, costing the school more than $386,000. State offices were closed for the Fourth of July holiday Friday and could not be reached for comment.
"The unrelenting and unprecedented scrutiny has negatively affected PACE students, the school's finances, and the morale of the entire community," the school said. "The inflammatory actions of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the Charter School Advisory Board and the N.C. State Board of Education are, at best, unjust. The state's institutionalized discriminatory practices must be stopped."
It's been a busy, controversial year for state charter officials. In June, the State Board of Education voted to shutter a Raleigh school, Dynamic Community Charter, serving students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.