CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The number of taxpayer-financed schools outside the control of North Carolina school districts is heading for a big expansion.
The State Board of Education on Thursday gave final approval to 26 charter schools planning to open later this year. Eleven would be located across the Charlotte area.
They'll have initial authorization to operate for five years and earn the ability to keep going after that by producing strong academic results in their first few years of existence.
"These out-of-state, for-profit companies have educational management organizations that charge fees. So we have to make sure that all of these schools that open up are going to be high quality schools that are held accountable," said Bill Anderson, executive director of MeckEd.
MeckEd is a nonprofit that informs the community about public education. Anderson said school competition is good and there are good charter schools in Charlotte.
Another 71 groups applied to open charter schools next year. A state board will decide next week, which will continue the process.
North Carolina could have more than 200 charter schools open in 2015. Lawmakers decided to lift the 100 charter school cap in 2011.