Charter school trend slows as NC increases scrutiny for 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s expanding number of public charter school will grow at a slower pace next year.

The state Board of Education took a cautious approach toward groups that proposed opening one of the taxpayer-funded, non-traditional schools in the 2017-18 school year. Board members are being more particular after a handful of charter schools opened and quickly failed due to academic or financial problems.

The school board approved just eight out of the 28 groups that submitted bids to open a school. The board broke with past practice by denying five applications out of the 13 that were cleared by an advisory board.

A charter school leader who chairs the advisory board said he wasn’t sold on some of the applications that won the endorsement of his board. Alex Quigley of Durham said he thinks it’s “very important that we have a high bar” in exchange for committing millions of dollars of public money, The Charlotte Observer reported (

The school board’s decision to deny five applications which were approved by the Charter School Advisory Board after reviewing applications and interviewing board members earlier this year “appears to be a major change in state policy,” North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association Executive Director Lee Teague said.

North Carolina will have 167 charter schools receiving children later this month, up from 100 since the state lifted its limit in 2011.

The eight charter schools approved for 2017-18 now have about a year to find buildings, hire staff and recruit students.

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