(Raleigh, NC) -- Moments ago, state Board of Education members approved 25 new public charter schools recommended by the N.C. Public Charter School Advisory Council.
While the new schools will help quell some of the demand of over 30,000 children remaining on public charter waiting lists across the state, today's approvals also dispel concerns voiced when the public charter school cap was eliminated in 2011, said Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC).
"The collaboration between the Public Charter School Advisory Council and the state Board of Education should alleviate concerns that peaked during legislative efforts to eliminate the public charter school cap in 2011 - that removing the public charter cap would lead to two public education systems," Allison said. "Now a year into the process, the board has essentially approved 100 percent of the council's recommendations. This relationship has, once again, demonstrated its intended purpose - to ensure the creation of high quality public charter schools through a thorough and rigorous review process.
Moreover, those of us who have been advocates for more public charter schools in North Carolina can also be the biggest champions for quality schools."
In total, the board has approved 34 new public charter schools this year, including seven schools in counties previously without a public charter:
Bladen - Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy*
Currituck - Water's Edge Village School
Edgecombe - North East Carolina Preparatory School
Granville - Falls Lake Academy*
Granville - Oxford Preparatory High School*
Martin - Bear Grass Charter School
Randolph - Uwharrie Charter Academy*
* School was approved today
Once the schools approved today open in 2013, North Carolina will have 132 public charters operating in 53 of the state's 100 counties.
The council's effectiveness was recently praised by state Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison who said board members "value their expertise" and that the council applies "a high level of scrutiny" to the application process.
"With these two appointed bodies working in unison with the Office of Charter Schools, led by Joel Medley, I believe that North Carolina is off to a good start," Allison said.
PEFNC amassed strong grassroots and legislative support for eliminating the cap last year, including taking lawmakers on public charter school tours, hosting a press conference where parents and national and state leaders urged legislators to support removing the cap and calling on thousands of supporters to contact Gov. Beverly Perdue's offices and voice their support for the measure.