Education

Public hears plans for proposed RTP charter school

Posted February 13, 2012
Updated February 14, 2012

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— A proposed charter school at Research Triangle Park got positive feedback at a public forum Monday evening, but the plan has drawn heated criticism from the Durham County school board, which says it will hurt education.

Plans for Research Triangle High School, which would focus on science, technology, engineering and math, were laid out for parents and community members Monday evening at the downtown Durham County library.

"We need more students to become much more accelerated in scientific literacy," said Pamela Blizzard, executive director of the Contemporary Science Center.

The organization applied for a charter school that, if approved, would open in August.

State education leaders will vote on that proposal March 1.

Students at the school would get both face-to-face and digital instruction at home and then apply what they've learned in the classroom, Blizzard said.

Proposed charter school creates stir in Durham Proposed charter school creates stir in Durham

Grandparent Faye Brandon said it's a good idea.

"We call ourselves 21st Century learning, but there is not much 20th Century learning going on," she said.

Some Durham County education leaders, on the other hand, signed a resolution opposing the high school, saying it would draw funding away from public schools. They also say the school has barriers to admission that would lead to increased segregation.

Those barriers include inadequate transportation, food and technology for children who need it to participate, the resolution states.

Blizzard, though, said the school will work with parents to ensure no child is excluded for lack of means.

Members of the Durham County school board could not be reached for comment.

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  • RGMTRocks Feb 15, 2012

    tired2 - Before I opted for Voyager, I was very involved in my DPS school - which was a wonderful elementary school. I also met several times with my representative county commissioner, some local middle school administrators and several people in the DPS district office. They all basically said the same thing - our hands are pretty tied and we're doing the best we can; for your daughter, the charter school may be a great option if you can get her in there! Well that sold me! My tax $$ are much better spent at Voyager - and so are yours!

  • tired2 Feb 14, 2012

    RGMTRocks...so what exactly have you done to help improve DPS - a meeting or two with an educator....school board office??? Hold elected officials and school administration accountable??? If you actually read my posts - any money going to these schools needs to go back to the public system. You want Charter schools - no problem - just pay the FULL bill sans tax doloars.

  • RGMTRocks Feb 14, 2012

    korndorff....do you really think that the allocated money for 800-1000 kids in an elementary schools is enough to fund the building and contents plus salaries and ongoing costs....wake up. tired2
    Again, please do your homework tred2! Charter schools are not allowed to use ANY state or federal funding they receive for tuildings and their contents (Capital expenses, they're called). They must come up with ALL of that money on their own. And someone mentioned science labs - Voyager's are funded by local business, citizen and parent donations. When our school needs stuff, they send everyone an e-mail to see who has it that may be willing to donate it - and it comes, usually from someone's home. Just sayin

  • RGMTRocks Feb 14, 2012

    RGMTRocks... my tax dollars should not have to subsidize your child in a State-funded school when there is a public option. You want a better education for your kids, either work to improve your local system or pay for private school.

    tired2 - MY tax dollars are going into that school too and I PROMISE you that I'm paying more tax $$ into the system than my daughter is getting out of DPS for her education in the charter school. I don't like that MY tax $$ are spent in a lot of ways DPS is spending them. There are LOTS of funds that DPS has access to which charters do not. Charters are largely funded by local business and community involvement. You really haven't done your homework.

  • tired2 Feb 14, 2012

    westernwake1...if all you said is true (please understand there are far too many in Western Wake who could care less about anyone else in Wake County but their child), then I applaud you and apologize for any comments that may have offended you. Btw, I fully agree with the need for performance standards versus test scores - however, due to federal funding, changes also need to happen in Washington.

  • westernwake1 Feb 14, 2012

    "Maybe you and others would be willing to open your tax wallets so all schools could provide lower teacher-student ratios; pay teachers a salary in line with what is expected (will attract better teachers)...however, instead of helping drive and be part of better solutions to improve education for all, I expect all that you will open is your mouth." - tired2

    I have posted repeatedly that I would pay more in taxes for more funding of K-12 education. I have repeated many times that starting teacher salaries should be in the mid-40s to align with other states.

    However I also believe that just like in the private workplace, teacher's pay raises should be based on performance (not school test scores). Also I believe that the focus of a school district should be on educating each student and not on diversity (this is Wake's failure).

    And I am actively involved in getting new approaches and technology into the classroom that will help all students.

  • jason19 Feb 14, 2012

    "I don't see where Charter Schools syphon any money from the pot, just the money that each individual student is alloted in NC would follow them to the Charter School."--korndorff

    I see what you are saying, but the problem is that each school -- no matter how large or small -- needs a minimum amount of materials and employees. For example, every good school needs a chemistry lab that needs to be re-supplied on a yearly basis, and it costs multiple students' allotment to do that, even if fewer students are using the lab. So having more labs means that it costs more to maintain the labs just by their sheer number.

    Maintenance costs balloon, as well. A classroom with 22 students needs just as much attention as one with 25 students -- even with that decreased enrollment and (thus) decreased money allotment. And of course, every good school needs a strong principal.

  • westernwake1 Feb 14, 2012

    "I don't see where Charter Schools syphon any money from the pot, just the money that each individual student is alloted in NC would follow them to the Charter School."

    This, of course, in the minds of public school adminstrators and public school board members takes away from the pile of money for their county district that can be used for administrative salary increases and overhead expenses. They never once stop to consider that the public school system no longer has to pay the expense of educating the student who opted for the charter school (nor do they ever mention this in public statements).

  • tired2 Feb 14, 2012

    korndorff....do you really think that the allocated money for 800-1000 kids in an elementary schools is enough to fund the building and contents plus salaries and ongoing costs....wake up.

  • tired2 Feb 14, 2012

    westernwake1....if you only knew....I suspect my background in education may exceed yours since I not only have facts, but have intimate knowledge of inner workings of education (but since I don't know you i will trust you know enough to be dangerous). I have never disagreed with the notion that major changes are needed - status quo is never a good option - but to split a limited financial pool only serves a minority...but again given your past comments on the Wake County issues, you only care about whatever pool you are in - not the greater good. Maybe you and others would be willing to open your tax wallets so all schools could provide lower teacher-student ratios; pay teachers a salary in line with what is expected (will attract better teachers)...however, instead of helping drive and be part of better solutions to improve education for all, I expect all that you will open is your mouth.

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