Published: Sep 08, 2012 10:31 AM
Modified: Sep 08, 2012 10:32 AM
RALEIGH - The State Board of Education gave preliminary approval last week to 25 charter schools to open next year, which would be the largest expansion of the program since the legislature lifted the state’s 100-school charter cap last year.
The planned schools include five in the Triangle, one of which is the Howard and Lillian Lee Scholars Charter in Chapel Hill.
The school won fast-track approval by the state in March and was originally scheduled to open last month. Delays in getting required permits held up that plan, and because the school’s opening was delayed, its charter requires re-approval by the state.
The Chapel Hill-City Schools and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP have opposed the school because it would not offer free lunches and school transportation for students and would take about $4.3 million away from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public school system.
The state board approved all the charters recommended by an advisory council despite opposition from groups such as the N.C. Justice Center, which said approval shouldn’t be given to schools that had not received an “excellent” rating from the council.
But state education officials pointed to how they’ll still have to give final approval to the schools in March before they can open for the 2013-14 school year. During that time, the new schools will be expected to show they’re on track to open.
The 25 new schools would add to the current 107 charter schools statewide. Charter schools are public schools that receive taxpayer money, but operate without some of the constraints of regular public schools.
The other Triangle charter schools are:
• The Expedition School in Orange County, specializing in science, technology, engineering and math
• The Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh
• Willow Montessori in Chatham County
• Institute for the Development of Young Leaders in Durham.
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