Torchlight Academy schools could lose one client, but appear to gain six in new round of charter school applications


Raleigh-based charter school operator at the center of management dispute with Essie Mae charter school Kiser Foxx (Essie Mae) in Rowan County is listed as the management organization on five new claims charter school received by the North Carolina Department of Public Education. of the August 26 deadline.

Torchlight Academy Schools is also listed as the management company of the New Generation Charter Academy in Edgecombe County. The school is one of five to seek expedited approval to open next year.

Citing poor budgetary and operational management, Essie Mae officials have asked the State Board of Education (SBE) to approve a request to terminate its relationship with Torchlight. The Charter Schools Advisory Council (CSAB) has already approved the split.

The SBE is expected to vote on the request when it meets on Thursday for its September business meeting.

Torchlight is listed as the proposed management company of BEAM Academy in County Bladen, Lighthouse Charter School of the Arts in County Greene, North Davidson Charter Academy in County Mecklenburg, Power Elite Male Academy in County Mecklenburg and RISE Academy, Inc. in Wake County.

Torchlight already operates three charters, including a school in Raleigh named after him.

Following Essie Mae’s request, Don McQueen, President of Torchlight Academy Schools, expects CSAB to closely review applications submitted by new schools that Torchlight would manage.

“They have been reasonable, fair and firm,” McQueen said of the CSAB members. “They don’t let much go. “

Torchlight could end up managing up to five of the 14 new schools seeking SBE charter approval this cycle.

Here are the nine other new schools seeking charter approval:

  • Carolina Royal, Chatham County.
  • City Charter Academy, Guilford County.
  • Clara Academy of Sciences, Mecklenburg County.
  • Huntersville Charter High School, Mecklenburg County.
  • Oak Grove Charter Academy, County Durham.
  • Peak Academy, Buncombe County.
  • Revolutionary Academy: Bunker Hill, Guilford County.
  • Teira Institute, Mecklenburg County
  • The Soaring Eagle Academy – TheSEA, Pitt County.

The charter school movement in North Carolina continues to advance despite complaints from critics that they deprive traditional public schools of resources and contribute to racial segregation.

There are currently 198 charters in service in North Carolina, 12 of which are slated to open in 2020.

The number of charters operating in the state has nearly doubled since lawmakers lifted the 100-school cap in 2011.


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