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NEWS RELEASES 1996-97 :: MARCH 17, 1997


The State Board of Education today (March 13, 1997) gave the go-ahead for North Carolina's first charter schools to begin operating as early as this summer in 25 of the state's 100 counties. The Board approved 37 schools from the 65 applications received.

The charter schools are being created under legislation passed last year to encourage creative, innovative approaches to education and removal of bureaucratic red tape and state regulations. Charter schools are still supported by tax dollars and are therefore public schools. With approval of these 37, North Carolina will have the most charter schools of any state in the nation.

Applicants could either apply directly to the State Board or apply to the local school district, which then recommended approval or disapproval to the State Board. Applications denied locally could be appealed to the State Board.

The following will be the state's first charter schools:

  • Alamance County: Lakeside School;
  • Avery County: Grandfather Academy;
  • Buncombe County/Asheville City: Asheville School for Children and Rainbow Mountain Children's School;
  • Caldwell County: Nguzo Saba Charter School;
  • Catawba County: Englemann School of the Arts and Sciences;
  • Chatham County: Chatham Charter School;
  • Cherokee County: The Learning Center/Ogden School;
  • Durham County: Durham Community Charter School and Healthy Start Academy Charter School;
  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County: Carter G. Woodson School, Lift Academy, Quality Education Academy, The Downtown Middle School;
  • Gaston County: Highland Kindergarten;
  • Jackson County: Summit Charter School;
  • Lenoir County: The Children's Village Academy;
  • Charlotte/Mecklenburg County: The Community Charter School;
  • Moore County: MAST School;
  • Nash County/Rocky Mount: Advantage School;
  • Orange County and Chapel Hill/Carrboro: Orange County Charter School, The Odyssey, School in the Community and Village Charter School;
  • Pamlico County: Arapahoe Charter School;
  • Pitt County: Right Step Academy;
  • Robeson County: CIS Academy;
  • Surry County/Elkin City: Bridges;
  • Wake County: Bonner Academy, Exploris Middle School, John H. Baker High School, Magellan Charter School, and Sterling Montessori School;
  • Watauga County: Mountain Pathways Charter School;
  • Wayne County: Bright Horizons;
  • Wilkes County: United Children's Ability Nook School;
  • Wilson County: Sallie B. Howard School.

Dr. Jay Robinson, Chairman of the State Board of Education, said state staff will begin work immediately to help the schools with operational and organizational questions in order to expedite their start-up.

"Today's action means a fourth of our counties will be taking part in this national initiative as one alternative for offering quality education to our young people. We're eager to work with the new charter public schools and look forward to learning from them, then applying what we learn to other public schools across the state. "

Of the applications denied during the approval process, the reasons cited most often were lack of a clearly defined education or financial plan.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.