The Scotland County Board of Education voted this week to send an official response to the state Department of Public Instruction regarding charter schools.
There are presently two charter school applications that could affect Scotland County: one for a statewide virtual charter school and one for an elementary level school in Scotland County.
The board voted Monday to allow board chairman Charles Brown and Superintendent Rick Stout to submit an official response prior to the DPI deadline of April 9.
“There is a response rubric that the Department of Public Instruction has prepared that allows potentially affected school districts to just fill in demographic information and financial information regarding the possible impact of charter schools,” said Board Attorney Nick Sojka.
The subject was discussed last week during the board’s annual retreat, and school board member Paul Rush reemphasized the necessity that the public school system offer a virtual school as an option, especially for students who are currently homeschooled.
“I really think that we have an opportunity and need to really think about what we can do to be proactive,” Rush said. “This is not going away. If we can do something within our own system to draw more children to utilize the public education system, whether it’s virtual or whatever, with the resources we’ve got, I think we need to… Every student that leaves, that’s going to be a dollar amount.”
Stout concurred, adding that charter schools will have to demonstrate to DPI that they offer unique programming not available in the local public school system.
“One of the key components for a charter school is not to have a copycat school that are going to provide the same services with nothing different than what we have as public schools,” said Stout. “The ones that we’re hearing about now really don’t look like they’re going to look different than what we offer now in our public schools, and that’s a real concern.”
In other business, the board recognized Scotland High School student Hailey Smith, who achieved the platinum career readiness certificate on the WorkKeys exam, which is given to all Scotland High School seniors. The platinum level is the highest awarded on the exam, and Smith is one of three Scotland County residents ever to score at that level. She plans to study political science at the University of North Carolina.
Erin Paul and Shaquanda Stanback, two other Scotland High School students, were recognized for their placings in a statewide career development poster contest, earning second and first place respectively in their divisions. Both posters will be judged on the national level.
The five students in Carver Middle School’s Technology Student Association: Allyson Lane, Madison Owen, Mollie Locklear, Allisa Dilling, and Carsen Adams, were also recognized for their entry in the Verizon App Challenge. Their app, Future Forge, is designed to provide a resource for students investigating careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The app has been entered in the national challenge, which will be judged next week. The Carver TSA is advised by Sharon Stephens.