Roger Bacon group wants a second charter school in Brunswick County

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By Brian Slattery

Leland’s Charter Day School could have a sister school in Brunswick County by 2014.

Roger Bacon Academy, the management company for the Charter Day School in Leland and the Columbus Charter School in Whiteville, took the first step toward a South Brunswick Charter School at the end of 2012.

School administrators submitted a letter of intent with the Office of Charter Schools at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction on Dec. 31, 2012.

“It let the state know our interest in submitting an application (for a charter school). It is not binding,” Barbra Jones, coordinator of community relations and new school development for Roger Bacon Academy, said.

If they pursue it, Jones said a school could be in the Southport/Bolivia/Supply area.

The charter school’s board of trustees had an informational meeting Tuesday evening in the Board of Realtors building in Supply.

“We want to see if the community is interested in having a (charter) school,” Jones said before the meeting. “I’m already getting calls about the school. People are excited. That shows there’s a need.”

Once they receive input from the community, Jones said the next step would be completing an application to send to the Charter School state office.

Applications are due by noon on March 1.

The application would also be presented to the Brunswick County School system.

If there is a concern about the impact another charter school will have on the school district, the school system can send a letter with their concerns to the state Charter School office.

“From the numbers I pulled, 2 percent of the district enrollment would be affected (by a new charter school) if every seat were filled,” Jones said.

Jones said the Roger Bacon Academy’s intent would be to open a kindergarten through fifth-grade school. The first year the school would open K-2, then a grade would be added each year for the next three years.

The same process was used in setting up Charter Day School in Leland as a K-8 school.

Columbus Charter School opened in Whiteville in 2007 as a K-2 and followed the same schedule. An eighth grade class will be added for the 2013-14 school year.

The Roger Bacon charter schools have added three classes per grade with a maximum of 25 students per class, Jones said.

The application is reviewed by the state Charter School office, which makes a recommendation to the State Board of Education in June.

Applications include a mission statement, an education plan, administration and operations staff plans, student enrollment estimates, transportation plans and financial plans.

Jones said the intent of a South Brunswick charter school would be to replicate the curriculum and facilities plans used for the Leland and Whiteville Schools.

“We use modular buildings in an open (layout). It looks like a day camp,” Jones said.

A location has not been selected, but Roger Bacon officials would look for a site of at least 30 acres.

The final decision to approve a new charter school is made by the state education board in July.


Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.