Choosing the right school for your child is a very important decision. Fortunately, North Carolina residents now have many opportunities currently available. In addition to traditional public schools, private schools and home schooling, students can now also attend a public charter school. Although charter schools have been successfully educating students for more than 25 years, some still don’t know exactly what a public charter school is and why it is different from traditional district schools.
Charter schools are public schools, which means there is no tuition to attend and the schools must teach the same standards as their traditional counterparts. Students from the entire state of North Carolina are able to enroll in the school and all charters must follow the same regulations as district schools for equal opportunity admissions.
The difference lies in the flexibility afforded charters in delivering instruction. Charters receive 100 percent of the state funding for students, but do not receive any facilities funding and only a portion of the local supplements. Charter schools are held to a higher accountability standard than district schools. If a charter school does not perform well or is financially unstable, it can be shut down. But as with any school, the educational success of students is highly dependent upon high quality providers.
Charter schools are governed by a not-for-profit board which includes local community leaders. This board is ultimately responsible for the financial and academic health of the schools. The North Carolina Charter Education Foundation, which governs schools in Cabarrus and Iredell counties, has partnered with one such provider, Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), to manage its schools. The governing boards’ President is Barbra Bryan and Vice President is Talitha McGuinness. Beth Allen is Treasurer, Beth Compton is Secretary and Wayne Turner, Ivonne Reed and Jessica Rainstein are Directors.
“When we partnered with CSUSA to manage our schools, we understood that they have an extensive and proven network of professionals and solid financial strength to give our start-up schools an advantage right from the beginning,” said Barbra Bryan, President of the North Carolina Charter Education Foundation, the governing body that is responsible for the schools.
“We know every student learns differently,” said Craig Paul, principal of Cabarrus Charter Academy. “We can’t just teach to a bell curve and hope some students don’t fall off the grid. We have to focus on each individual student to make sure every single one is reaching his or her highest potential.”
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