Community organizations, nonprofits and other interested groups have submitted 161 Letters of Intent to apply to open a public charter school in August 2014. The letters were delivered to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction by 2 p.m. today and signal that the groups plan to submit a charter proposal to the NCDPI’s Office of Charter Schools by noon on March 1, 2013.
“The continued interest in establishing public charter schools reveals that organizations across the state recognize that these types of schools can offer a valuable and innovative option to meet the many different needs of students,” said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. “The Board created an Advisory Council to review and recommend the highest quality applications. Judging from these solid numbers, it appears they will be busy during the spring. We look forward to discussing their recommendations in the near future.”
This is the first time that advance Letters of Intent were required upon the recommendation of the Public Charter School Advisory Council. The Council’s goal for requiring these letters is to promote quality by asking groups to formulate plans earlier than in the past and to gather information to help Council members prepare for the upcoming application review to be held during the spring.
The Letters of Intent are one component utilized to promote the growth of high quality charter schools across North Carolina. Several other states also require these Letters of Intent which have resulted in stronger applications thus generating fully functional boards, academic excellence, and fiscal accountability – all hallmarks of high quality charter schools. If a group failed to submit a Letter of Intent by today’s deadline, they can submit one by Sept. 6, 2013 in order to participate application cycle for schools that will open in the fall of 2015.
The Office of Charter Schools will host three trainings for applicants that submitted Letters of Intent. Those training sessions focus upon the application’s content (January 11) and on utilization the automated application (January 7 and 18). Some sessions will be available by webinar. The Office of Charter Schools will provide additional information before the March 1 application deadline to organizations that submitted letters. Groups also can register for training at: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/charterschools/applications.
There are currently 107 public charter schools open in North Carolina serving nearly 50,000 students while 25 additional schools are in the planning phase and will go before the State Board for approval no later than March 15. For more information, contact the NCDPI Office of Charter Schools at 919.807.3491.