Two North Carolina charter school applications are making headlines. Officials at the Charlotte Learning Academy charter school are accusing leaders at Cameron Creek charter school of copying parts of its application. Leaders at Charlotte Learning Academy brought it to the state's attention.
"They were stunned," Cameron Creek Charter School Public Information officer Sidney Reynolds said. "And very confused."
On some parts of the application the same exact language was used. The irony is Charlotte Learning Academy was denied while Cameron Creek charter was approved.
Reynolds believes the state could do a better job in assisting charter schools with what to write and not to write on the application.
"The office of charter schools tells these applicants not to reinvent the wheel," Reynolds said. "And they are encouraged to go on the Department of Instruction website and review the applications there. And there really isn't clarity about what's prohibited from using since this is public domain information."
In one place in the application Cameron Creek Charter uses Charlotte Learning Academy's name when it was supposed to use their name. Reynolds says board members take these allegations very seriously.
"You are dealing with individuals who care deeply about protocol," Reynolds said. "And integrity."
Reynolds says the school may never know exactly what happened but she says two board members, who are no longer on the board, could have been responsible. Also the school claims the application was rushed and too many volunteers may have been helping with the process and may have dropped the ball concerning some edits.
After the allegations surfaced officials from Cameron Creek Charter say it used a software to detect plagiarism. The software indicated there were about 200 similarities in the application.
"This would not be uncommon," Reynolds said. "Because keep in mind you are repeating state statutes."
Cameron Creek charter has responded to the state's concerns. The state will decide what to do with Cameron Creek's charter the first week in March.