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Board weighs bid for Carver High charter; graduating seniors win $500 scholarships

By Josh Johnston, The Lens charter school reporter |

An alumni group from the failing George Washington Carver High School has asked Friends of King Schools, the board that runs Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School, to apply for Carver’s charter, King board members learned at their May 8 monthly meeting.

A Carver alumni group recently protested the state-run Recovery School District’s decision to permit Collegiate Academies, the network that runs the highly successful Sci Academy, to take over the high school.  The Carver alumni group has applied twice for the charter, but both applications were rejected by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

King principal Doris Hicks and Friends of King board attorney Tracie Washington explained the proposal. “The school has already been assigned,” Washington said. “To say that it is a contentious situation is an understatement. There have been protests every day.” She likened the effort to install new leadership at Carver as “a hostile takeover.” Washington described a protest at which Carver alumni and supporters locked arms to keep the new principal out of the school.

Board members said a central concern was that students from a failing school are sometimes “left behind” to finish their final grade when RSD buildings transition to charter management. What happened to the students who were “phased out?” board secretary Cora Charles asked.

“Exactly,” Tracie Washington responded.

“When they talk about fighting crime,” member Gail Armant said, “this is where we need to fight it, in the classroom.”

“I think it is very important that we step up for these kids, just like we stepped up for Joseph Craig Elementary,” board president Hilda Young said.

After careful consideration of the wording, the board approved a motion to enter into negotiations over the Carver charter.

Graduation for King High School will be May 11 at 10a.m.  Dr. Hicks announced that $500 scholarships would be awarded to graduating students, to be used for books and school supplies. The scholarships were paid out of a fund raised by the board.

In addition to Young, Charles, Armant, Hicks and Washington, board members present included treasurer George Rabb as well as Thelma Ruth, Eartha Johnson and Sandra Monroe. Member Kenya Rounds was absent.

The meeting began at 12:02 p.m., and concluded at 1:12 p.m.

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