North Carolina could have more than 200 charter schools open in 2019 – double the number in operation since the statewide cap of 100 schools was lifted in 2011.
The state Office of Charter Schools announced Wednesday that 29 schools had met this year’s application deadline to try to open new schools in 2019. With 173 charter schools operating this year and 20 more approved for 2018, the state should reach more than 200 charter schools in the next two years.
Charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the rules that traditional public schools must follow. Supporters say charter schools provide families with more education options while critics say they siphon money away from traditional public schools.
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The latest round of applications include four from Wake County, two from Chatham County and seven from Mecklenburg County.
All four proposed Wake charter schools have tried in the past to win state approval. Kaleidoscope Charter High School is making its fifth try to open in Morrisville. Carolina Experimental School and CE Academy are both making a second try to open in Cary with a focus on the Chinese language and/or the Chinese educational model.
North Wake Preparatory Academy is trying again after it withdrew its application last year.
In Chatham County, Cardinal Charter Academy West Campus wants to replicate the program used by Cardinal Charter Academy in Cary.
Liberty Leadership Academy wants to open in Chatham County and eventually become a K-12 school that also draws students from Wake and Durham counties.
Leaders in the Durham Public Schools have complained for years about the large number of charter schools in the county. There are no requests to open new charter schools in Durham in 2019.
The Office of Charter Schools will review the applications before they go to the Charter Schools Advisory Board. The final decision is up to the State Board of Education.