STARS Charter School voted to phase out high school grades at its regular board meeting on Jan. 20. Enrolled high school students will meet in blended online classes through 2024-2025, after which time the grades will not be available.
The board passed an amendment to accept students enrolling in kindergarten through eighth grade with older siblings and full disclosure of the high school grades phasing out.
The time high school students will spend online and in-person for the blended program is not official.
Board member Roberta Manness was the only member to vote against the phase-out.
“Is STARS losing money?” Manness asked.
“Two hundred fifty thousand in the red, if school did not have K through eighth,” Executive Director Wes Graner answered.
STARS Executive Director Dr. Wes Graner at the Jan. 20, 2022, regular board meeting.
During the discussion, Graner said advertising was not the problem, but students leaving for more opportunities in other high schools was the problem.
Graner reviewed the letter sent home to parents on Jan. 9 and presented new data.
He listed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). The analysis system evaluates a company’s competitive position and aids in strategic planning.
Graner said the strength of STARS Charter School is kindergarten through eighth grades. The weakness is not having enough students, not having a competitive edge, and being $200,000 in the red. Under opportunities, he said high school students go to Pinecrest and Union Pines for more opportunities.
The threat to the charter school is its existence, according to Graner, who said since 1999, 54 charter schools closed, and 60% of those closed due to financial losses.
“Absolutely nothing I see different now than what I wrote in the letter,” Graner said.
In an earlier phone conversation with Sandhills Sentinel, Graner said they were “stewards of the school and tax money and have to be as responsible as possible.”
STARS started its high school in 2016. The school projected an enrollment of 200 students.
In other business, the board voted to continue mandatory masks for all people on the campus and on buses through the next board meeting on Feb. 21.
The school had 180 absences on Jan. 18 and had 195 absences on Jan. 20.
STARS currently has 750 students.
STARS Charter School Executive Director Wes Graner and board members, Chair Erin Jessup, Roberta Manness, Annette Blue, Marybeth Malone, Diana Tessein, Andrew Kegley and Lee Leonard at regular board meeting Jan. 20, 2021.
Feature Photo: Sandhills Theater Arts Renaissance School at 140 Southern Dunes Drive in Vass. Photo taken Jan. 20 by Sandhills Sentinel staff.
Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected]