Information released today by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction shows proposals have been submitted that, if approved, would open three new public charter schools in Asheville and Buncombe County in August 2014.

According to the listing of applicants, they are:

  • Appalachian Heritage Academy, to be within the Asheville City Schools district and to be for grades 9-12, with year 10 projected enrollment of 200.
  • INVEST COLLEGIATE, to be within the Buncombe County Schools district and to be for grades K-12, with year 10 projected enrollment of 1,200.
  • The Franklin School of Innovation, to be within the Buncombe County Schools district and to be for grades 6-12, with year 10 projected enrollment of 736.

These charter school applications are in addition to one submitted for the NC Connections Academy, a statewide charter to be for grades 6-12 and with year 10 projected enrollment of 2,500.

There were no other applications submitted from the other 17 westernmost counties of the state. And, according to the release, every application will be online by Friday.

The full press release can be found below.

Press release from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, shared March 4:

NCDPI receives 70 charter school applications

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction received 70 applications from organizations proposing to open a public charter school in August 2014. These applications were received by the March 1 deadline and represent the largest collection of applications ever submitted since the first public charter school opened in North Carolina in 1997. The list of applicants is now available and every application will be available online no later than Friday, March 8.

“As the number of quality charter schools continues to grow in North Carolina, the Department of Public Instruction will continue to work closely with these new public schools to meet students’ needs and boost academic achievement,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We have made great progress over the past several years and our hard work has paid off with the highest graduation rate in the state’s history. Public charter schools have contributed to this progress and we look forward to working with a new group of excellent schools in 2014.”

Joel Medley, director of the Office of Charter Schools, said this application review is a “multi-layer and multi-faceted process focused on quality.”  The first phase is a completeness review performed by the Office of Charter Schools. Any groups that have not submitted an entire application will not advance. Then, the Public Charter School Advisory Council will conduct a quality review, which will include subcommittee deliberations and interviews. This process will take several months and will enable the Council to make recommendations to the State Board of Education to help Board members determine which applicants should be granted preliminary charters for a planning year in 2013-14.

The Office of Charter Schools will provide training this summer for applicants interested in submitting a proposal in future charter school application cycles. The next round of applications, as mandated by the State Board, must utilize the new automated application system. An overview of the expected timeline, including the required Letter of Intent that is due Sept. 6, is available online. [PDF]

There are currently 107 public charter schools open in North Carolina serving nearly 50,000 students. Twenty-five additional schools are in the planning phase and will go before the State Board for approval during its meeting on Thursday of this week. For more information, contact the NCDPI Office of Charter Schools at (919) 807-3491.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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