09/23/04 — Private school shut down

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Private school shut down

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on September 23, 2004 2:01 PM

Charis Prep, a private school founded over the summer and operated at Abundant Life Fellowship on Sheridan Forest Road, has been shut down as of this morning by Goldsboro building inspectors after it did not pass an inspection last week.

Goldsboro's chief building inspector, Ed Cianfarra, said his staff conducted an inspection of the school late last week and found numerous items that did not comply with building codes.

Carlos Peralta, minister at the church and an administrator for Charis Prep, was present for the inspection and is now obligated to bring those items into compliance before he can reopen the school, said Cianfarra.

He said he presented Peralta with a written document Wednesday to cease operating the school.

Cianfarra said there are several fire code violations, including not having panic hardware on the exit doors. The emergency lighting also needs to be upgraded, he said.

There are also building code violations, including not having bathrooms that are handicapped-accessible.

He said everything under the fire inspection in the building is sufficient for a church, but that is not the primary use of the building now. There are more restrictive safety requirements when education is involved.

Cianfarra said there is no certain time for when Peralta must meet the safety code requirements, but he cannot operate until they are met.

There are some minor items that are not life threatening that also need to be addressed, including paving the parking lot. He will work with Peralta on a schedule for those to be completed.

He said a parking lot for a church is not required to be paved, but there is some paving required, based on the number of people, for a school.

Cianfarra has already received calls from some contractors, indicating Peralta is working to get the building in compliance.

If it passes inspection, Cianfarra will forward the paperwork to the state for approval, and then the school would be able to operate.

Charis Prep opened on Sept. 7 in Goldsboro and at that time had 67 students enrolled in grades 1-12. The school was operating in the church's education space.

Since Peralta had continued to operate the school without the inspection, Cianfarra said he was forced to pay him an official visit last week and shut down the school because of the code violations.

State officials have said the school has not taken the proper steps to abide by state regulations. State law says that if an unapproved school is discovered -- usually reported by the public school system of the county in which the school is located -- the school's administrators are not held liable under the law. But the parents of the students would be in violation of a law that requires all parents to send their children to a state-approved school. That is a misdemeanor. Peralta has said he has registered with state authorities and other organizations.