Durham school options continue to grow

December 31, 2013 by  

The state of North Carolina has received 71 applications to open new charter schools in the 2015-16 school year, eight of which are for schools in Durham County.

Currently, there are 127 charter schools in operations and the 2014-15 school year will see 26 more open. Each year since 2011, when the state lifted the cap on these schools, the trend has been for multitudes of applicants to seek approval to open new charter schools.

Although the applicants will be whittled down to those with a viable educational and business plan, there will still be plenty of schools left to increase educational options throughout the state. The current crop of applicants is similar to those that applied last year for the 2014-15 school year, of which 26 of the 70 were given preliminary approval. Final approval for those 26 will depend on a vote from the state Board of Education in January.

An alternative to public school, charters are managed by independent boards but are overseen by the state. Selection is usually by lottery and there are no charges to attend. However, charter schools are not required to provide meals or offer transportation. Students can cross county lines to attend them.

Among the proposed charters for 2015-16 are three whose names indicate their specialization will be in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). One school, as indicated by its name, will be an arts school.

Each year, most charters will consult a brochure printer detailing what their school offers, and interested parents pour over the contents before waiting in line for a chance to file an application.