State Board of Education to decide embattled Durham school's future

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Kestrel Heights School is under scrutiny over diplomas for certain students.

Hundreds of students at Durham's beleaguered Kestrel Heights Charter School could find out Wednesday if they will have to switch schools next year.

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The North Carolina Board of Education is expected to vote on the future of the K-12 school after learning 40 percent of graduates during eight years shouldn't have been given diplomas.

According to the state, 160 students skipped one or more required classes, including English and Math, but still were handed a diploma from 2008-2016.

The North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board has recommended that the Board of Education revoke the school's charter to teach high school and is calling for a criminal investigation.

PREVIOUS STORY: State board recommends Durham's Kestrel Heights close high school - become K-8

The board is slated to meet Wednesday morning in downtown Raleigh to discuss whether Kestrel Heights should shut down and/or face fines.

If Kestrel Heights is closed, 26 staff members could lose their jobs and 280 undergraduates will have to find a new school for the 2017-2018 school year.

On Tuesday, more than 300 students skipped sixth period and rallied outside in an effort to save the school.

RELATED: Students rally for troubled Durham school's charter

"We have 300 plus students who are essentially homeless next year. This is their home. This is more than just a school for them," Principal April Goff said Tuesday. "These kids chose Kestrel because Kestrel offers a different environment; a family environment, a home for them they may not get in a standard public school. My heart goes out to them and my hope is that re able to continue providing them the services that they deserve."

There is also a petition on for the renewal of Kestrel Heights' charter for the entire school (K-12).

Click here to read the petition

The State Board of Education has the final say on Kestrel Heights' future. Students say they plan on attending the board's 10 a.m. meeting Wednesday.

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