State school board decides next month on adding charter schools

by: Holly Maynard Updated:

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DAVIDSON, N.C. —

The state Board of Education will decide next month if it will approve more charter schools for the state.

Eyewitness News was at the Lake Norman area at the Community School of Davidson, a popular charter school that draws students from more than an hour away.

"I definitely see why people are interested in having their child in here," said Brian Ferguson, whose two children attend the school.

The school, which serves kindergarten through 11th grade, is known for its small school feel, its emphasis on the arts and strong parental involvement. Its waiting list of 3,400 students is the longest in the state.

"Some people would take great pride in that, but for us it breaks our heart. The lottery day is one of the saddest days at our school," said Julie VonCanon, the middle school principal.

 CSD is one of five charter schools that has drawn students from the Lake Norman area. The others are Pine Lake Preparatory, Lake Norman Charter, Lincoln Charter and Mountain Island Charter. Recently, a sixth school, Corvian Community School, opened up in North Charlotte.

The state Board of Education will consider approving two others to open up for 2013. One is Langtree Charter Academy in southern Iredell County and the other is Cabarrus Charter Academy in Cabarrus County.

When North Carolina got rid of its cap on charter schools last year, it was inundated with applications for new schools. Sixty applied to open next year. Twenty-five have made it to the final round.

Many applications emphasized the very long wait lists at CSD and several other schools too.

"I think that's indicative of the community at large saying they would like maybe some more alternatives," Ferguson said.

The state Board of Education will make a decision on Sept. 6.