Under the Dome

New NC charter schools get OK to open amid questions on readiness

Madison Britt, 9, front left, and Kinsey Hill, 9, front wearing green, lead a group dance during The Quest Academy Charter School's end of year showcase Thursday, June 2, 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. The State Board of Education gave approval Thursday, July 7, 2016, for 11 new charter schools to open in August 2016.
Madison Britt, 9, front left, and Kinsey Hill, 9, front wearing green, lead a group dance during The Quest Academy Charter School's end of year showcase Thursday, June 2, 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. The State Board of Education gave approval Thursday, July 7, 2016, for 11 new charter schools to open in August 2016. jhknight@newsobserver.com

The State Board of Education gave unanimous approval Thursday for 11 new charter schools to open in August amid questions about whether some schools will be ready.

Seven of the new charter schools were rated as insufficient in one or more areas such as their facility, enrollment numbers and financial information in a June progress report. Eight schools don’t yet have a certificate of occupancy for their facility.

“It’s July 7th and these are some key sort of principles, issues that in our business world they get covered way early,” State Board member Greg Alcorn said before the vote. “Here we are 30 to 45 days from opening and some key areas aren’t covered.”

Alex Quigley, chairman of the state Charter School Advisory Board, said many successful charters have found that opening goes down to the 11th hour. He also pointed to how the advisory board felt confident enough in June to unanimously recommend that all 11 new charters be allowed to open.

Kebbler Williams, an education consultant with the state Office of Charter Schools, said she felt more comfortable with this group of 11 schools – at this time of year – than the previous 38 charters she helped to open.

Charter schools receive taxpayer funding and are exempt from some of the regulations that traditional public schools must follow. With Thursday’s approvals, 167 charter schools will be open statewide for the 2016-17 school year

Only one new charter school is scheduled to open next month in the Triangle. Central Wake Charter High School plans to open in Raleigh to bring back students who’ve dropped out and to work with those who are considering dropping out.

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