With a charter school, private school and now a public high school on the docket for eastern Wake County, the educational landscape of the area could look very different within the next decade.
Currently in Knightdale, families can choose from four public elementary schools, one public middle school and two public high schools. The nearest charter school is located in Zebulon or downtown Raleigh.
Cardinal Charter Academy of Knightdale, initially slated for August 2015, is now anticipated to open in the fall of 2016. The tuition-free, public charter will serve grade levels from kindergarten through 8th grade, although it will only offer classes for K-6 in the 2016-2017 school year.
Charter schools are open to all students through a lottery. They’re funded through tax money but are able to avoid some traditional public school regulations. East Wake Academy in Zebulon is the only current charter in eastern Wake County.
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Cardinal Charter say they will be unique by personalized learning plans, parent involvement and using school uniforms.
Thales Academy, still aiming for the 2016-2017 school year, is already under construction in the Knightdale Station development. This private school is the Academy’s eighth school.
Hilary Herman, who will be the school’s administrator, has already moved to the area, according to Kent Misegades, the schools’ director of development. She is currently the administrator at the Thales Academy of Apex K-5.
“We’re across from the new sales office in Knightdale Station,” Misegades said, adding that interested residents could watch the progress. “The land is being cleared.”
When it opens in 2016, the school will likely offer grades K-3 and expand through 5th grade later. Parents can apply at any time. Misgedes has said in the past that about two dozen students from the eastern part of the county who attend Thales Academy in Raleigh will have the option to move to the Knightdale location once completed.
Misegades added that the school has reserved property on the east end of Knightdale Station for a future middle school and/or high school campus. The Academy is completing a second high school in Apex next month.
“Parents want a 13-year solution,” he said. “We do too.”
They came to the area because of the lack of alternative options in the region, and because several Knightdale leaders approached them.
“Knightdale is ideally situated,” he said. “It’s an anchor for all of Southeast Wake into Johnston County and Wilson because our schools pull from a wide area.”
Another high school, eventually
On Tuesday, the Wake County school board decided to move forward with the purchase of a site for a new high school in northeast Raleigh at corner of Atlantic Avenue and New Hope Church Road.
They offered $4.5 million for 33 acres of a former Corning Glass Works site, property that’s listed on state and federal hazardous waste site lists, although school board members say they will ensure the safety of the area. Wake’s assistant superintendent for facilities Joe Desormeaux said additional reviews will be made before the site is finalized.
There is no opening date, or even size projection for the school yet, but the property was pursued in part because of its ideal location – within the district’s target area to accommodate enrollment projections for the eastern Raleigh and western Knightdale area.
Staff writer T. Keung Hui contributed to this report.