State Board of Education votes to revoke charter at special needs school in Wake County

WAKE COUNTY (WTVD) -- The State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to revoke the charter at Dynamic Community Charter School, the only charter school in North Carolina focused exclusively on students with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The board voted earlier this year to start the process to close the school because of mounting concerns over finances, safety, and quality of instruction.

"I do think there were some great intentions and I think there were many children who were happy there. Unfortunately the state board is sworn to uphold laws," said board member Becky Taylor.

"I hope we're not viewed as a bunch of heartless people," said board member Bill Cobey.

About 70 students attend the Raleigh school which opened in the fall to serve middle and high school students.

The State Board of Education said the school has not been transparent in its dealings with the state and is not providing an adequate education for students with disabilities.

"We're not institutionalizing kids. We're not tucking them in closets. We're giving them tools to function in society," said Dynamic's Lead Administrator, Terri Zobel.

Zobel defends the school's out-of-the-box approach to learning. She said her staff did everything possible to meet state standards.

"They haven't even given us a real chance. The whole time we've been fighting them, so do I think they're heartless? Yeah, I kinda do. At this point, I feel like they have not given us a fair shake," she said. "It's very emotional. All of us are holding it together by little tiny threads."

Ninth grader Bailey Gladden, who lives with Asperger's Syndrome, finally felt like he fit in with his peers. Next year, he will have to find a new place to learn.

"I'm shocked, disappointed and a bit disgusted really," said Gladden.

Teachers are now looking for work.

"We've gotten so attached to these kids. Teaching them, watching them grow. It's just going to be hard," said projects teacher Virginia Stanley.

Dynamic Community Charter School will be allowed to stay open through the end of the month while students wrap up testing.

Records show the board last revoked a charter school in July 2012. They've only done it four times since an early crackdown 15 years ago, just two years after North Carolina's first charter schools opened.

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