A Wake Superior Court judge will announce his decision Friday on whether a virtual charter school should open this fall, after the N.C. Board of Education neglected to take up its application.
The State Board of Education is asking Judge Abe Jones to set aside an administrative judge’s order and give the state board a second chance decide if the virtual charter school should be approved to open up in North Carolina. (The state education board didn’t act on the virtual charters application earlier this spring, saying they had already announced they weren’t going to take up online-only charter schools this year).
N.C. Learns, the non-profit set up to house the K12, Inc.-run school, wants the administrative law judge’s order to hold, so that they can open up this fall and begin recruiting students. The company expects to find 2,750 students statewide in its first year, meaning more than $18 million of public education funding would be diverted from the already-tight budgets of public schools around the state.
The virtual charter school would be run by K12, Inc., a for-profit online education company that runs similar online-only school in 29 other states. Students at virtual schools take their classes online from their home computers, paid for by taxpayers.
There have been a lot of questions about the quality of K12 schools, with states like Ohio reporting four-year graduation rates as low as 30 percent, and down to 12.2 percent for black students.
North Carolina’s cohort graduation rate is 77.9 percent overall, and 71.5 percent for black students and 68.8 for Latinos.
In this case, The North Carolina Virtual Academy would be run by K12, and be open to students statewide. The school would get the same per-pupil amount as other charter schools get (ranges from $7,000 to $10,000, depending on where the student lives and if they are special needs), despite not having to shoulder the cost of having a physical school and paying for the building costs, and all that goes along with that.
Check back with N.C. Policy Watch later on, where we’ll have more detailed account about yesterday’s hearing as well as Judge Abe Jones’ decision Friday.