Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Director of Lake Norman Charter School resigns

We're a bit late on this one, but the Huntersville Herald and WFAE radio have reported that Tim Riemer, managing director of Lake Norman Charter School, resigned effective Aug. 16 -- the day before classes for the K-12 school began. Click here and here for stories with more details. A call to the school from the Observer on Tuesday wasn't immediately returned.


Larry said...

Hey read the story from The Huntersville source where they talk about salary:

The school paid Riemer $124,858 – $110,434 in salary and $14,424 in benefits.

According to the tax return, Lake Norman Charter has 1,270 students.

In comparison, Mary Louise Jones, principal of Hopewell High School, which had 2,460 students in the 2009-10 school year, made $121,689.24 in “total pay” as of April, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools salary database. School district officials were not available to say if “total pay” includes benefits.

Matthew Hayes, principal of North Mecklenburg High School, which had 2,118 students in 2009-10, made $97,250 in “total pay” as of April. Teresa Cockerham, principal at Hough High School, made $113,547.20 in “total pay.” Hough’s student population was not available.

And what are the benefits and retirement plans.

But then again as an investor I would say look at how solid the investment has paid off.

For the past several years, Lake Norman Charter the state has rated as a School of Excellence, the highest designation given by the state, according to the story.

Going to www.GreatSchools.net and looking at the twice the students for the same price (ostensibly) schools mentioned, you can make your own decision as to the just how well the investment has paid off for those schools and that money.

Anonymous said...

Larry look at the client list. You could lock coach Joe in the principal's office and the school would do fine. Not exactly a Title I knowledge bank. Harrisburg had similar leadership issues as well.

Anonymous said...

Ann and Eric, I'm a little disappointed that this story didn't qualify for top billing in the Charlotte Observer. Lake Norman charter is in Meck county and Mr. Riemer was a previous principal. I was a teacher at Lincoln Heights under his leadership and we experienced the same problems with him however, CMS's leadership deemed the problem "US" and not Mr. Riemer. It is just amazing how creditibility lives depending upon who makes the claim.

Anonymous said...

Larry--LNCS has been designated a "School of Distinction," a "School of Excellence," and and "Honor School of Excellence" every year but one (2003-2004) since it opened its doors in 1998. It's not because of Riemer. It's because of the students, the teachers, and the parent support. I'm glad he's gone, and I hope that LNCS can get back to what it once was--a wonderful place to learn and teach.

Anonymous said...

Getting the story late should not preclude you from developing the story. Further inquiry at CMS should reveal the number of complaints filed against Mr. Remier by staff members. There was even an incident were it was determined that he misrepresented the truth and the person who uncovered the truth was reprimanded and not Mr. Riemer. Investigate you'll find out.

Larry said...

Yes the school is blessed.

But anyone can attend. And that is one of the strengths with any school.

Often when we talk about Charter schools people do not realize that most often they serve the challenged communities. So the cherry picking you hear is just the opposite.

And if those charges are proven then they are unusual. Today we dislike any direction and it shows. In sports we have parents attacking officials and the like over slight actions and maybe we need to reestablish some lines of just what is acceptable and what how much we have already crossed that line.

Wiley Coyote said...


The bar of what is acceptable on any subject has been lowered for many years.

Everyone knows there is so much waste and fraud in the school lunch program, monies that could be redirected towards classrooms, teachers and technology, yet we have people like Joe White who makes the comment "just feed the kids".

Nevermind the USDA has stated they overpaid last year to the tune of $1.5 billion dollars or 16.3%.

You want to establish lines of what is acceptable?

Start by requiring parents to "parent" and have their kids come to school with manners and respect and dress appropriately....

Then we raise the bar on the BOE by demanding they get over race and income in every conversation and get down to the business of educating our kids.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid many parents aren't up to the task of parenting. A solution would be to tie the school lunch program to the good behavior and appearance of the child. Cam Newton could be a good spokesperson for this program. Be clean-cut and polite, and you'll get to eat. This would teach children self-reliance.

Anonymous said...

Love you Larry! Reasonable and right on in this case.

Wiley Coyote said...


The school lunch program shouldn't be turned into anything other than what it was originally designed for and that is to ensure kids who TRULY and VERIFIABLY qualify for the meal subsidy to get nutritious food who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

The level of what is acceptible that was brought up by Larry applies to the school lunch program and programs like Bright Beginnings and we can thank inept BOE members for perpetuating that low level of acceptability.

By the time Gorman arrived in 2006, CMS was spending $18 million a year on Bright Beginnings (it's up to $21 million now). When the recession hit, some county commissioners and school board members pushed to cut pre-K money.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has spent a total of $237 million on public prekindergarten since its debut 14 years ago. The first 4-year-olds are approaching high school graduation.

And Gorman says none of the research his predecessors did is solid enough to label the program a success or failure..

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/02/06/2040321/cms-finds-success-of-pre-k-hard.html#ixzz1VyX9VTtX

Yet here we sit, $237 MILLION dollars spent on a program that is not mandated and parents should be responsible for getting their kids ready for kindergarten and the BOE continues to fund this black hole.

The level of acceptance, the lowering of the bar by politicians pandering to a base instead off having the guts to stop the madness by eliminating waste in the system..

The status quo is alive and well in Mecklenburg County.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really familiar with Mr. Riemer, but I am very familiar with LNCS and I believe everyone is missing who is at fault and that would be the Lake Norman Charter School Board of Directors. They run that school and hide behind the leaders that they put in place. They make all the decisions for the school and have the school's leaders follow through with their decisions. The Board is who should be investigated!!!!

SSR said...

I live in Huntersville and I am quite familiar with LNCS. Use to have such a great reputation until a couple years ago. So much has been written negative in our local paper this past year regarding the school. Just wonder has anyone ever consider investigating the board??? What qualifies them???? Who runs the school???? Maybe just maybe someone could get to the source-root of the problem at LNCS....... So many good respectable people have either left or been terminated the past couple of years. A good journalist should check this out!!!!!!

Wiley Coyote said...

The BOE is elected by us.

You get what you vote for.

McGarry and Gauvreau were constantly hammered by their status quo head-in-the-sand counterparts and media, because they, especially Gauvreau, refused to "go along in lockstep like good little soldiers" with the others....

therestofthestory said...

Since the BOE is a non-partisan race (yea right!) maybe Ostrich is the new name for some of the status quo folks.

therestofthestory said...

WC, what is your guess of fraud and no value return extra spending this BOE has done since the new "home zone" student assignment plan went into effect after the last court case? I am guessing the ballpark is about $200 million per year. I am counting the rough fraud level of FRL and its impact on the fed's Title 1 and the state's reduced classroom size initative, the total BB spending, the WSS and the SSI spending.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

SSR said...I live in Huntersville and I am quite familiar with LNCS. Use to have such a great reputation until a couple years ago. So much has been written negative in our local paper this past year regarding the school. Just wonder has anyone ever consider investigating the board??? What qualifies them???? Who runs the school???? Maybe just maybe someone could get to the source-root of the problem at LNCS....... So many good respectable people have either left or been terminated the past couple of years. A good journalist should check this out!!!!!!

Um...don't the parents run the charter schools? Who are THEY putting on the board?

Wiley Coyote said...


It's not just the fraud within the school lunch program that is the problem. It's that and every other tentacle that is attached to it.

Title I
Sports Programs
Food Subsidies
School Supplies
Strategic Staffing

I couldn't begin to put a dollar figure on the exponential nature of the fraud attached to FRL.

What does it say to our kids when we allow many parents to game the system without repurcussion?

Why don't we let kids cheat on tests or better yet, let teachers change answers on all these new tests that are being implemented?

Anonymous said...

Um...don't the parents run the charter schools? Who are THEY putting on the board?"

At LNCS, when a board position becomes open, anyone who is interested can send in their application. The board then votes who is chosen. This is the way it has always been at LNCS. It's stated in their original charter. It seems very incestuous and breeds a "good ole boy" mentality...

therestofthestory said...

WC, that is my point also. As we as a society continue to "do more and more" for this group, they continue to do less and less for themselves like Ben Franklin says, "I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."

So obviously as you have ppointed out, BB just itself is $237 million. By policy, we are spending 30% more (which by math would be about $1200) with WSS however as we look at actual per pupil expenditure the figure appears to be closer to $4000.

So with all the other things noted, a conservative guess is around $150 million to $200 million per school year and accelerating. I would say we are rapidly approaching $2 billion above and beyond the state standard just for this one group of students essentially an extra 2 years of budget over 9 years. Remember this is only the above and beyond the state standard.

Wiley Coyote said...


It was very ironic Bill O'Reilly had a segment on Welfare in America tonight talking about these very things, along with Lou Dobbs.

They covered all of it from Clinton's Welfare Reform Act to the reasons why Congress, mostly Democrats, refuse to address the issues. They also touched on one of the main reasons why politicians, like our BOE, don't want to discuss reforms lest they be labeled racist.

Here is the link to the talking points but I don't have the other 5 or so minutes of the discussion with Dobbs.


Here's another blurb from Nebraska related to school lunch fraud:

The School Lunch Plunder

Reported by Brad Penner, STATEWIDE Correspondent

Every school day in Nebraska, more than 50,000 children eat free lunches at school. The program is supposed to ensure that children from low-income families get a good meal so they're better prepared to learn. Few would argue with that goal. But one Nebraska school district found that the benefits aimed at the poor are being claimed by those who are not, at least not by the standards set by the government.

Administrators in South Sioux City started getting concerned a couple of years ago. They were finding more cases of people misstating their incomes when they applied for free or reduced price lunches. They also found that more than half of the people they asked were unwilling or unable to prove that they met income standards for the program.

A check of the numbers showed a similar situation in a couple of other school districts. In South Sioux City they decided to do something about it. They may become the first school district in the country to prosecute people for lying on an application form.

They want to make sure that families who can afford it don't get a free lunch.

....interesting in Nebraska huh?

That story was from 1996, 15 years ago!

Wiley Coyote said...

This one's for you Larry....


Demand for Top Charter Schools Outweighs Supply

...."There's no fights like other schools. No drugs. We are like a family," added Valencia, a 10th grader at the Gulfton campus.

It is a family that would clearly be much larger if YES prep had more than it's current 5,400 slots.

"I feel that students are suffering and that families are suffering too. I feel that we are slowing down innovation. I think that's what charter schools bring to the education community," Bernal said.

Abigail Valencia says along with her classmates, she's on a mission to change the perceptions that low income, minority kids have difficulty succeeding.

"We are going to prove those statistics wrong," she insisted.

Larry said...

Thank you Wiley. We can do right by those who want to do right if we just do the right thing.

Please folks get a fire going that no matter who gets in these kids have choices and a future.


Anonymous said...

I too am very familiar with Lake Norman Charter School but not Mr. Riemer personally. It saddens me to see a school that thrived for years with great students, families, teachers and leadership often show up in the news during the last year or so in such a negative fashion.

The school no longer has the stellar reputation it once had but will continue to take on new students due to severe overcrowding in CMS. Mr. Riemer had to take responsibility for the school's downturn as the leader of the school. But Mr. Riemer is not the sole cause of the downturn.

The LNCS Board of Directors has for years meddled in the day to day operations of that school and is held accountable by no one. It is not their job to get involved in the day-to-day decision making of the school yet they do constantly. They need to be investigated before they bring the school down totally. If things remain the same, look for more negative news from LNCS and look for their next leader to be gone as the scapegoat.

LNCS parents...you need to hold your Board accountable. It's your right!

Anonymous said...

First day of school.....could someone please find out why adding 45 minutes to the school day that was supposed to create a more streamlined bus flow resulted in some students not leaving school until almost an hour after school let out?

Anonymous said...

There's a reason why I left a charter and went to CMS... actually, there are many reasons, but I can say unequivocally that unless an outside agency is in charge there are often severe administrative and management issues. There were several things I liked about where I was, but after two days in my classroom in CMS, I am so thankful and happy that I made the decision to leave the charter.

Larry said...

I would imagine you have realized that in two days you are blowing the top end of the bell curve off in your class, and the rest of the year will be a year of skating.

Anyone who uses the word unequivocally in a discussion while in school, and even understands it, would not have been a product of CMS unless it was one of the more successful Enclave Schools.

So be sure to tell us more. You seem to be an example of what we have been saying is the best of Charter Schools, yet you seem unhappy with the richness you took from them?

Anonymous said...

@Larry... I left as a teacher... not a student. : )

Anonymous said...

Good one!

Larry said...

Good maybe you will be able to open the door that many students will want to enter.

Sadly you are going to find your day in public education is so regimented that it will appear your job can be done by an automaton.

Wiley Coyote said...

Sadly you are going to find your day in public education is so regimented that it will appear your job can be done by an automaton.

Good job Larry.

You just lost about 9,000 votes from teachers.

Larry said...

Oh: What do you say Teachers.

I don't care who you vote for, but how true is my statement?

That is the problem we have with life today. People who have not been in the class room trying to get in and do something.

I have been all over the country doing research seeing what works and have seen the worst and and the best.

That is why I feel we can create the best in Charlotte/Mecklenburg

So Teachers what is teaching like in Public Schools do you have any flexibility like they do in Charters or do you need more?

Anonymous said...

Charters are public schools and there are many curricular aspects that govern both the same way. North Carolina has adopted the Common Core and currently has the NCSCOS--no matter where you teach, you are governed by those documents in some sense. CMS has implemented the Common Core one year early in order to allow teachers to prep for what is the inevitability of State mandated testing that center around the Common Core as opposed to the previous NCSCOS. Additionally, the new "curriculum" guides written this Summer by teachers are liberal in their structure that allow much freedom for teachers from the point of view that you are talking about. I would say overall...I have always felt like I had freedom to do much of what I want to in my classroom as long as I am within the parameters of the governing document--now The Common Core, which, if you read it is quite broad. Teachers ALWAYS have freedom to create lessons how they wish to...I don't know where you are getting the idea that CMS hamstrings or shackles us to a particular way of doing the same lesson for every teacher---that is not the case. While I may teach the same book as another teacher, we don't teach it the same way--I am incredibly creative in my classroom in the presentation of material and the implementation of curriculum. I can not take the onus of the entire teaching corps of CMS on my back, but you are making it sound like we are headed toward Pink Floyd's meat grinder or something... which is NOT the case! As I have worked for both Charter and CMS... I can honestly say, I have not felt hampered in either environment and to an extent--I actually felt not as great about being at the Charter because they did not have the personnel or resources to ensure our school had Professional Development opportunities or that we were adhering to State guidelines in a variety of areas such as: curriculum implementation and teacher evaluation. Your desire to draw a massive dividing line between CMS and CHARTER is fallacious because BOTH are governed by State and National guidelines. The only situation in which you could offer a contrast would be a private school setting vs. CMS.

Anonymous said...

That is great to hear.

I guess my experience has only been in the challenged schools since those are the ones I have always asked for and my studies have been in the Charter Schools.

So perhaps we just need to assume this additional testing would be good for public schools since we already know that Charter Schools are doing so well and we can see the success you have in the public schools with this new freedom.

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry said...

Great to hear.

My experience has always been in the challenged schools as those are the ones I always asked to volunteer in.

So perhaps the additional tests to show how well this new freedom is working will be beneficial to show the success you are making against the Charter Schools.

Anonymous said...

Many charter schools have more infighting and bickering because the politics is local and rife with meddling from an unaccountable and at times clueless board to the detriment of the school. This sounds like it is the case at LNCS and I would gather that many other charters have similar issues.

Teachers are often times caught in the crosshairs of this constant bickering as well and the academic gains that one would expect (given the student population) are not realized. Do some digging and you would be suprised by what you may find.

Anonymous said...

Lake Norman Charter...The Director Resigned

Sounds more to me like he jumped ship!


Walker D Plank

Anonymous said...

LNCS Director "jumping ship" - I'm sure that came with a large settlement $$$$ from the LNCS Board of Directors as "hush" money!!?