Dear Carolina STEM Academy Applicants and Friends,
It was with great sadness and heavy hearts that the Carolina STEM Academy Board of Directors met Tuesday night and voted unanimously to not move forward with opening the school. We are extremely disappointed that circumstances beyond our control left us with no other alternatives to move forward. While our enrollment numbers were lagging, it was the sudden loss of our school director at a critical time in our state approval process that made it impossible for us to continue.
We understand how very disappointing this news is for our families. Most of our board members are also very disappointed that the school will no longer be an educational option for their children. We understand and appreciate all the time and effort that you spent to find a unique educational alternative. We also want to especially recognize those families that volunteered and helped us with activities such as marketing and recruitment, moving furniture to our facility, and other endeavors such as the PTO. Thank you so much for your time and support.
It has been five years since the idea for a STEM-centered charter high school was first conceived by founders David Johnston and Julian Macri, while their children were playing soccer. They have shown incredible passion and dedication to the endeavor to create a unique school where students passionate about STEM subjects could fully realize their dreams and talents. Over these years, 15 total board members have volunteered countless hours developing the curriculum, managing and executing the business decisions, locating and securing facilities, meeting state charter school requirements and recruiting students and school personnel. We thank them all for their efforts.
Opening a Charter School also requires initial capital to fund marketing and other up front expenditures. Over the past five years our founders, as well as our board, have spent not only countless hours, but also many thousands of their own dollars in an effort to open the school. All initial capital was donated by the founders, several board members and others. North Carolina Charter Schools receive no state funding until the summer before opening. We have spent no money from the State. Charter schools have been criticized for poor management of resources, however, our board prided itself not only on its passion for STEM-centered education, but also on its business management savvy and fiscal responsibility. The school’s inability to open is not in any way attributed to financial irresponsibility. All new charter schools are faced with the same challenge in their efforts to recruit and retain personnel the first year. A new charter school lacks the ability to confirm to personnel that it will reach the enrollment necessary to balance the budget until the 20th day of school when the school’s enrollment numbers become official.
We hope you will take your passion for STEM education to whatever educational option you select for your family. Our founders and board members have learned and shared with each other a great deal about STEM education and charter schools. We plan to continue to share this knowledge and our STEM education passion in other endeavors for the greater good of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. We hope our paths will cross again in the future.
Board of Directors
Carolina STEM Academy