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Charter school vote this week

Nine more charter schools could get approval this week, as the N.C. State Board of Education considers whether the schools are ready to open this fall.

A vote is scheduled for Thursday, but state board members will likely discuss the proposals at their meeting today in Raleigh.

The nine charter schools, if given the go-ahead by the state education board, would be the first to open since the 100-school cap on charters was lifted last year by the N.C. General Assembly.

Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that get their funding from state, local and federal taxpayers, but operated largely outside the confines of traditional public schools.

Of the nine that have applied to open this fall as part of a “fast-track” application process, several have encountered resistance from the school districts they reside in.

• Bear Grass Charter School (Martin County)

• Cornerstone Charter Academy (Guilford County)

• Corvian Community School (Mecklenburg County)

• North East Carolina Preparatory (Edgecombe County)

• Research Triangle High School (Durham County)

• The Howard and Lillian Lee Scholar’s Charter School (Orange County)

• The College Preparatory and Leadership Academy of High Point (Guilford County)

• Triangle Math and Science Academy (Wake County)

• Water’s Edge Village School (Currituck County)

School officials from Martin, Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school districts all lodged complaints about the charters with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, saying that if the schools open in their districts it would siphon off funding for the school district as well as upset the racial balance of existing schools.

In Martin County, school officials said that the school that the charter schools wants is an old public school building in disrepair, and unable to be restored so that it’ll be safe for students.

The Howard and Lillian Lee school would also be run by National Heritage Academies, a for-profit company that runs charter schools. The school doesn’t have a site yet, and Chapel Hill school officials say that if it opens, the focus on African-American students would upset the racial diversity in the traditional public school system.

The opposite appears to be the case in Durham, where the Durham school board fears that if the Research Triangle High Schools open, it’ll lead to some degree of white flight, and depopulate a STEM program (a curriculum that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics ) the school district has just started at an existing public high school.

Want to know what’s happening at the meeting?

The state board is scheduled to discuss the charters at 1:40 p.m. today. The education board will vote at on the charters at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

We’ll be at the meeting later today, and you can follow tweets from Reporter Sarah Ovaska at @sarahovaska.

You can also listen yourself – live audio will be streamed by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction here.

 

 

 

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