Emereau spreading its charter school wings

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently received 38 applications for new public charter schools to open in the fall of 2018. One of the applications was from the nonprofit Emereau, which is slated to open Emereau:Bladen in the fall of 2017. The board applied to open a charter school in Roanoke Rapids following the same mission as Emereau:Bladen.

Sept. 19 was the deadline to submit a charter application through the Office of Charter Schools’ automated application system. Each charter school applicant was required to pay a $1,000 application fee and perform criminal background checks on its proposed board members along with providing a detailed description of its proposed school’s mission and plan to meet that mission for students.

The Office of Charter Schools will now review the applications for completeness before forwarding them to the NC Charter Schools Advisory Board (CSAB). The CSAB will use an established structure, including external evaluators and applicant interviews, to review the applications. At the conclusion of this process, the CSAB will recommend applicants to the State Board of Education for approval.

“The charter applicant who successfully makes it through the state’s rigorous application process has been vetted by a variety of professionals who are part of the charter school community and know what it takes for a school to be successful,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.

Currently, 167 public charter schools are open for students in North Carolina. An additional eight schools received a favorable report in August from the State Board of Education to begin their planning year for preparation to open in August 2017, one of which is Emereau:Bladen. NCDPI staff will provide training for these applicant groups over the next year as they complete the ready to open process. These eight – once they’ve successfully completed their planning year – when added to the five charters that were scheduled to open in August but asked for a one-year delay, will bring the state’s total number of charter schools to 180.

Charter schools are public schools operated by nonprofit boards. The schools have open enrollment; and no tuition is charged to attend. Public tax dollars are the primary funding source for charter schools.

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