Upstate charter school leaders in talks with superintendent who was placed on leave

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The leaders of a charter school that’s been in the hot seat in Spartanburg faced parents once again Tuesday. The board meeting for High Point Academy came as several administrators were placed on leave, including Superintendent Lori Manning.

Manning has been on leave since this summer while – according to a leave letter — the school investigated accusations of financial fraud and discriminatory employment practices.

After an hours long executive session, board chair Matt Nestberg read a statement saying Lori Manning has reached out to the board, they are in discussions with her, and hope to reach a resolution by the end of this week.

Before opening up the charter school in South Carolina, Manning was a principal for a charter school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That school was shut down by the charter school district because the education didn’t meet state standards. Those students’ credits were not allowed to transfer to any other public school in the state.

Many Spartanburg parents have praised Manning’s work at High Point Academy.

Several parents — and one of the school’s founders — addressed the board during a public comment session Wednesday. At previous meetings, they were not allowed to actually address the school’s leaders, which made parents upset and they were very vocal about their concerns.

Parents were on both sides of whether or not more information should be released about the school’s investigation. A common theme was wanting the best for the school’s roughly 1,200 students.

“If there’s a decision made one way or the next, that all the facts will come out to support the reason the board decided to make a certain decision,” said parent Vince Edmund.

“Sometimes for the sake of the people involved, we don’t need all the details and it’s better for them that we don’t know all the details. I don’t really need to know. What I know is that my kids are being taken care of,” said parent John Verdict.

Several parents stayed until the end of the board’s executive session.

During discussions about the school’s finances, board members talked about the possibility of not qualifying for thousands of dollars in Title 1 funding this year.  They said that was due to not having the required number of students turn in forms from their parents. Acting Superintendent Christy Junkins said the school may be able to still qualify if the count could be reviewed.

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