Five nonprofit boards submitted applications to open public charter schools on a Fast-Track or Accelerated timeline in August 2020. A listing of Fast-Track and/or Acceleration applicants is available on the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Office of Charter Schools' website. To be approved to open on an acceleration schedule, Fast-Track applicants must meet certain conditions as outlined in State Board of Education policy CHTR-016, and Acceleration applicants must meet the conditions outlined in State Board of Education policy CHTR-013.
The deadline to submit a Fast-Track or Acceleration application through the Epicenter automated application system for 2020 was July 29. Each applicant was required to pay a $1,000 application fee and perform criminal background checks on its proposed board members in addition to providing a detailed description of the proposed school's mission, goals, education plan, operations and governance plan, and financial plan.
The Office of Charter Schools will review the applications for completeness before forwarding them to the N.C. 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.
By statute, Fast-Track applications must be either approved or denied within 120 days of the date of application. Accelerations receive a priority review, but without a statutory mandate.
North Carolina currently has 184 charter schools open for students. An additional 14 received a favorable report in July from the State Board of Education to open this month, which will bring the total number of charter schools in the state to 198. The State Board of Education approved 12 schools to begin a planning year for preparation to open in August 2020.
The application deadline for schools with proposed openings in the fall of 2021 is August 26.
Charter schools are public schools operated by nonprofit boards. The schools have open enrollment and no tuition is charged to attend. Tax dollars are the primary funding source for charter schools.
Visit the N.C. Office of Charter Schools' website for more information.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.