Kestrel Heights board votes to appeal state’s decision to close high school

The Kestrel Heights School Board meeting on Tuesday night. Photo by AJ Janavel/CBS North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — In the wake of a diploma scandal, the leaders of Kestrel Heights Charter School in Durham decided Tuesday night to appeal the state’s decision to close the high school.

The North Carolina Board of Education voted Thursday to close the high school for three years after an investigation discovered some students received diplomas despite not taking required courses.

For now, Kestrel Heights High School is scheduled to close on July 1 for three years.

An internal investigation found that over eight years, 160 of Kestrel’s 399 previous graduates had not taken all state-required courses.

Kestrel Heights Board President, Brandon Paris, says appealing the state’s decision was the obvious choice.

“At the end of the day, the question of whether or not we were going to appeal was not a question; it was how we are going to go about it,” he said.

The decision followed a 30-minute closed-door session during the board meeting.

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Even though the board is appealing, they say they do not have a set plan moving forward. The board also voted to bring on an attorney to assist with the appeal.

Even though the board is appealing, they say they do not have a set plan moving forward. The board also voted to bring on an attorney to assist with the appeal.

Paris says every member of the board is a parent of a Kestrel Height’s student or graduate, and they understand the concerns.

“Parents are upset, children are disappointed. I think the reaction is all natural given the gravity of what has happened to the school,” Paris said.

For months, students, parents, and faculty rallied for the school to stay open, and now there is a chance that might happen.

The board must officially notify the state of its decision to appeal by Friday, and have an appeal prepared and presented by Monday.

The State Board of Education will not meet again until April.

 

 

 

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