Entrepreneur HS charter school only has $14 in the bank, could close

Entrepreneur HS charter school only has $14 in the bank, could close

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Another Charlotte Charter school is in trouble. Entrepreneur High School opened its doors August 2014 and less than a year later it could close. The state has cited the school for multiple violations. The school is more than $402,000 in debt, it doesn't meet the state enrollment standards for charter schools, and school leadership fired the school's founder and principal, Dr. Han Plotseneder.

"It's been a hot mess," NC Charter School Advisory Board member Becky Taylor said. "It's been really bad and it's embarrassing to see this situation get here this quickly."

Taylor says she had a gut feeling this would happen. The Office of Charter Schools recommended Entrepreneur HS to delay its opening by a year, but leaders said 'No.'

"It breaks my heart to see you'll standing here today," Taylor said. "And it's actually worse that what I thought it would be."

Leaders from Entrepreneur HS told board members on Monday they will be working hard to find money, students and strong board members.

"The environment we have put before you," Entrepreneur HS Board Chair Robert Hillman said. "Is much more transparent and open and honest as we can possibly be."

Board members told Hillman it's too late for that.

"I think we went above and beyond," Charter Advisory Board Member Alan Hawkes said. "The call of duty to give this concept of this school an opportunity and frankly I am done."

The board recommends the state get rid of present leadership. Members do not believe things can change the way they are. They also recommend if that can't be done, then terminate the charter.

Entrepreneur HS leaders are disappointed but not giving up. They vow to find new partners and money to keep the charter open.

This latest case involving another charter school has Advisory Board members looking at what can be done to keep charter schools from failing.

"It can start with this board," Charter Advisory Board Member Helen Nance said. "And the state board - that we are really careful to choose schools who really understand what the undertaking is and that have good management, good finances and good education plan."

Nance tells WBTV the Advisory board is new and will do a better job reviewing charter school applications. Board members will be more rigorous and look at the total picture and ask tough questions as it relates to approving Charter schools.

"Are you putting too many charter schools too close to each other," Nance said. "So that they end up hurting each other because they are trying to draw the same students."

Officials say another problem is charter applicants don't listen to administrators' advice. They end up failing. Entrepreneur HS was told to delay its opening by a year, but didn't. And now the school is in jeopardy of closing.

The new advisory board says out of 60 charter school applications received, 11 have been approved. Those approved charters are listening.

"So far all 11 schools have followed all the instructions that the Office of Charter Schools have given them," Nance said. "They've all done exactly what they are supposed to do and I feel very confidant they will all do fine."

The state board of education will decide in March the future of Entrepreneur HS.

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All rights reserved.