Looking at the potential expansion of charter schools in Wake County

Posted by T. Keung Hui on January 6, 2014 

We could know in the next eight days whether there could be many as 12 additional charter schools opening in Wake County in the next two years.

As noted in today’s article, the State Board of Education will vote Thursday on giving final approval to 26 charter schools that want to open this fall. That group includes four schools in Wake County.

Next Monday on Jan. 13, the state Office of Charter Schools will recommend which of the 71 charter schools that have applied to open in 2015 should go forward for further review. That group hoping to move forward with the new Charter Schools Advisory Board includes eight applicants from Wake County.

With 15 charter schools now open in Wake, there could wind up being as many as 27 in 2015.

The 12 new potential Wake charters can be divided into basically two groups. One type is geared more toward college-prep and higher performing students. The other is geared more toward students who have academic challenges.

For the Wake schools that want to open this year, Cardinal Charter Academy, Envision Science Academy and Wake Forest Charter Academy would appear to be more geared toward average to above-average students. The fourth Wake applicant seeking final approval, Dynamic Community Charter School, would be focused on children with learning and developmental disabilities.

Approval this week would allow the four schools to ramp up recruitment efforts for students, no small concern considering that the Wake County school system will begin the magnet school application process later this month.

The 2015 applicants have got a lot farther to go.

Cardinal Charter Academy of Knightdale, Cardinal Charter Academy at North Raleigh, James Madison Academy and Kaleidoscope Art and Technology High School are more college prep in theme.

Capital City Charter High School, Central Wake Charter High School, PAVE Southeast Raleigh Charter School and Wisdom Academy are geared toward at-risk students.

“It’s the kind of charter we’d like to see more of in North Carolina,” said J.B. Buxton, chairman of the board of PAVE and the education adviser to former Democratic Gov. Mike Easley.

It’s a position that puts Buxton at odds with some fellow Democrats, such as Yevonne Brannon, of Public Schools First NC.

“Why should we set up a charter school in Southeast Raleigh?” Brannon said. “We should be providing more resources to the schools that are already there.”

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