70 charters apply as 23 are approved
As many as 70 new charter schools could open in North Carolina in August 2014, including 16 in the Triangle, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
In Wake County, the state’s largest school district, nine new charters could open in 2014. Based on their initial intent forms, these nine schools would offer a range of themes, such as science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM; special education, and a geographic focus on students in Southeast Raleigh.
For the 2013-14 school year, the State Board of Education gave final approval Thursday to 23 charters. They include Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh.
State education officials say the 70 proposed schools represent the largest collection of applicants since the state’s first public charter school opened in 1997. State officials will spend the next several months reviewing the applicants before recommending to the State Board of Education which ones should get preliminary approval to open for the 2014-15 school year.
Charter schools receive taxpayer funding but are exempt from some of the regulations that traditional public schools must follow. They are also independent of the school districts in which they’re located.
The General Assembly eliminated the 100-school cap on charters in 2011. There are currently 107 charter schools in North Carolina serving nearly 50,000 students.
Critics contend that charter schools drain funding and students from traditional public schools. But supporters say that charter schools provide more choices for families.
Magnet schools receive national awards
The Wake County school system recently announced that 25 magnet schools have received national awards.
Douglas, Farmington Woods, Smith and Wiley elementary schools; Ligon Middle; and Enloe, Millbrook and Southeast Raleigh high schools received the School of Excellence Award from Magnet Schools of America, a trade organization. Those eight schools are now in the running to win the Simpson Distinguished Merit Award, which goes to the top magnet school in the nation.
Seventeen Wake schools received a School of Distinction award.
Those schools are Combs, Brentwood, Brooks, Bugg, Conn, Fuller, Hunter, Joyner, Millbrook, Underwood, Wendell and Zebulon elementary schools; Carnage, Centennial Campus, East Garner, Martin and Moore Square middle schools.