North Carolina could add as many as 7 new charter schools in the fall to push total to 211

By: - June 1, 2023 3:30 pm
the word "charter" spelled out on blocks

North Carolina will add to its growing total of charter schools in the fall of 2023. Image: AdobeStock

North Carolina could get as many seven  new charter schools this fall to bring the total number of charters operating in the state to 211 for the 2023-24 school year.

There are 206 charters operating this school year but two — Eastside STREAM Academy and Invest Collegiate Transform, both in Charlotte, will close at the end of the month.

Ashley Baquero

The State Board of Education revoked Eastside STREAM’s charter in May due to poor academic performance, high staff turnover and fiscal mismanagement. Meanwhile, the board did not renew Invest Collegiate’s charter due to low test scores, financial noncompliance and attendance concerns.

The state board has already approved the seven new schools, which are all scheduled to open in August. Five others that were on track to open this year asked for delays.

The seven schools are in what is called the Ready to Open (RTO) phase, which is essentially a two-year planning stage during which the schools must show progress toward opening.

School leaders will meet with the Charter School Advisory Board next week for final interviews to show, for example, that they are making progress toward receiving a Certificate of Occupancy for school facilities and that schools have enrolled a minimum of 75% of projected enrollment.

“That [enrollment] helps us understand that the schools will be viable, that they will have the enrollment to meet their budget,” Ashley Baquero, director of the Office of Charter Schools, told members of the state board.

In July, the state board will be asked to give schools final approval to open.

The Ready to Open schools are:

  • Mountain City Public Montessori School in Asheville. The K-6 school plans to open with 106 students on Aug. 22.
  • Aspire Trade High School in Mecklenburg County is scheduled to open on Aug. 23 with 242 students.
  • Wayne STEM Academy, a K-5 school in Wayne County, plans to open Aug. 28 with 292 students.
  • Movement School Northwest in Mecklenburg County plans to open Aug. 22 with 150 students.
  • Bonnie Cone Leadership Academy in Mecklenburg County is scheduled to open as a K-10 school on Aug. 21with 1,725 students.
  • Legacy Classical Academy in Rockingham County plans to open on Aug. 17 as a K-4 school with 201 students.
  • School of the Arts for Boys is a K-6 school that plans to open Aug. 14 with 116 students.

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Greg Childress
Greg Childress

Education Reporter Greg Childress covers all aspects of public education in North Carolina, including debates over school funding, curricula, privatization, and teacher pay and licensing.