Peace University backs out of Wake schools partnership
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RALEIGH -- The new leadership academies for Wake County students will not be on the William Peace University campus in the fall.
Late Thursday, the university withdrew from consideration to house the single-gender schools.
For several months, Wake school leaders have been working towards a partnership with Peace University to house the leadership academies.
That drew a lot of criticism from Peace alumnae who were already unhappy with their alma mater making other changes; new leadership, a new name, and enrolling men for the first time.
“This is institution in turmoil and we feel the Wake County Public School System is being used simply as a cash cow,” Susan Murray told the school board at the meeting Tuesday night. Her daughter is a legacy student at Peace. “You will not be welcome there. Everyone resents the fact current Peace College students, tuition paying students, are being pushed aside to accommodate public high school students.”
Despite the concern, early Thursday afternoon, the principal of the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy seemed confident about the Peace location.
“Our conversations with William Peace University about the partnership between Wake County Public School System and William Peace University has been very positive,” Teresa Pierrie told News 14 Carolina in an exclusive interview. “We've looked at facilities. We've begun to look at academic programming and we see the possibilities that exist on that campus.”
Just two hours after that interview, a public relations firm sent out a statement saying, “William Peace University has requested that the Wake County Public School System remove the university from consideration for the leadership academies due to the division and controversy on the Wake County Public School System Board. We wish the Wake County Public School System the best as they continue to consider whether to move forward with the leadership academies.”
School board members were surprised by the announcement. They believe it had nothing to do with controversy on the school board. In fact, at Tuesday's meeting, they delayed moving forward with Peace.
“We've been listening to their alumni, their students, and their concerns and that's why we sort of held off on taking any action at this time,” said school board member John Tedesco. “We just think there's probably better opportunities for our students with some of the other local educational institutes which would involve schools that are not necessarily going through some changing times.”
Wake administrators still plan to open the leadership academies in the fall. They've already accepted 100 rising ninth graders for the program.
Now, they're just not sure where it will be.
While the school system looks for a new site for the high school portion of the leadership academies, plans are moving forward for the middle school program.
The Governor Morehead School is discussing classroom space for those 200 students.