Education

NC reveals which low-performing schools could be taken over by charter school operators

Posted September 7

— North Carolina has identified 48 low-performing public schools in the state that are eligible to be taken over by charter school operators as part of the state's new Innovative School District.

Out of the 48 schools, two will be chosen this year to become part of the ISD. Three more schools will be chosen later. The list includes schools from 21 districts across the state, including five schools in Durham County. (See the full list below.)

Schools with performance scores in the lowest 5 percent of the state were eligible to be considered and must serve elementary school students.

The goal of the ISD is to take five of the state's lowest-performing public schools and put them under the management of charter school operators, who will supervise and operate them with the goal of improving their performance.

Lawmakers approved the ISD, formerly known as the Achievement School District, during the 2016 General Assembly short session. The legislation also gives school systems that participate the opportunity to pick up to three other low-performing schools in their district to join an Innovation Zone. Schools in this zone would have charter school-like flexibility but would continue to be managed by the school district.

ISD Superintendent Eric Hall will narrow the list of eligible schools and present his recommendations to the State Board of Education at its October meeting. The first two schools could be selected and approved by the state board in November or December.

North Carolina lawmakers set up the new school district as a pilot program. It's designed to last five years with a possible three-year extension if a school needs more time to make improvement.

Once the state board selects a school for inclusion in the ISD, the local board of education that runs the school has two options – agree to relinquish control of the school or close it down.

Hall, who became ISD superintendent in May, said he will likely choose at least two schools to be up and running for the 2018-19 school year, with all five schools open by 2019-20.

"We’re not telling people what to do," Hall said during an interview in July. "We’re working with people to find those solutions."

Schools eligible for NC’s Innovative School District

Source: NC Department of Public Instruction

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