The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced Monday that it has received application filings from 40 non-profits across the state to open public charter schools in August of 2016. Seven of the proposed charters would be located in Wake County; one would be located in Durham.
An additional 14 charter schools are on track to open in August of 2015, which will bring the total number of charters in the state up to 162 by the end of next year.
“These new applications represent an opportunity to expand on the choices available to North Carolina students and parents,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson. “The Department of Public Institution and the State Board of Education will continue to partner with charter schools and traditional schools to prepare all students for post-secondary education, careers and citizenship.”
While charter schools enjoy support among “school choice” advocates and Republican lawmakers, critics say they don’t provide students with a better education than traditional public schools
. Democrats worry charter schools encourage racial and economic segregation, and say charters could discriminate against gay and transgender students
, though they are not supposed to.
It's easy to apply to open a public charter school.
Applicants pay a $1000 application fee and perform criminal background checks on their proposed board members. They submit applications online through the DPI's website. The Office of Charter Schools then reviews these applications before forwarding them to the state's Charter School Advisory Board
. The Board evaluates the applications in committees and with the aid of external evaluators.
“After deliberation, including interviews, the CSAB will recommend the highest quality applicants to the state Board of Education for approval,” a DPI press release states. “DPI will provide training for these applicant groups over the next year as they complete the Ready to Open process.”
You can see the full list of charter applicants at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/charterschools/.