Wake County Schools

Wake charter, private schools see increased applications

Posted February 1, 2011
Updated February 2, 2011

— Applications at Exploris Middle School, a charter school in downtown Raleigh, have increased by 40 percent this year.

“We had sort of held steady at about 250 applications, and this past year we jumped up to nearly 350,” school director Kevin Piacenza said Tuesday.

The school, which chooses students through a lottery, has only 43 seats to offer for the coming school year.

Piacenza said the increased interest seemed to intensify as the Wake County school board wages a public political battle on how to assign students across the district.

“It was obvious there were people influenced by current events with Wake County,” he said.

Principals say applications to private schools and charter schools throughout Wake County have increased dramatically this year.

Cardinal Gibbons has seen about a 10 percent increase. Principal Jason Curtis said the school currently has a wait list at every grade level.

Applications up at private schools Applications up at private schools

“I do think that the athletics programs, the arts programs (and) the outreach are attractive to parents who want to make sure those programs are available to their children,” Curtis said.

Cardinal Gibbons parent and teacher Darsey Williams said she hears concerns from other parents about the direction of Wake County schools. That's why she believes more families are looking at private school.

“There’s just so much instability,and it’s unsettling,” Williams said. “It just adds to anxiety.”

Cary Academy has seen a 10 percent increase in applications as well, school communications director Toye Eskridge said. The school has also seen its highest number ever of students applying to ninth grade. 


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  • wakeconative4ever Feb 2, 2011

    I am 100% against vouchers for private school. My children have always gone to private school and I DO NOT want the government involved in any way, whatsoever!!!! Our school is PERFECT without the government. They can screen potential students and choose whom they see fit to enroll. And when troublemakers arise, they are OUT!!!

  • tgiv Feb 2, 2011

    Great. The new board is having their desired effect. I saw last week where they arrested, convicted, and jailed a parent in our former school district for falsifying her address so her children could get out of their awful local school. I guess when we have the same model fully instituted here we can all be satisfied.

  • gotsomesense Feb 2, 2011

    Diversity of what? First it was race, then that's shut down so they call it "economics". Well my kid is short and I'm afraid of what will happen if he's in school with too many other short kids. He might get a complex - I demand that you bus in some tall kids so that he'll be in a diverse environment. And by the way he has brown hair and they're too many kids with brown hair - I demand that you bus in some blonde and red-headed kids to create diversity at his school as well. Plus, he's on the heavy side - I demand that you bus in some skinny kids too. (Dang, all the tall, blonde, skinny kids have been sent to private schools so that they don't have to ride a bus 2-3 hours per day...what are we going to do now?) Satirical, yes? Look at the parallels and decide when it will stop...when all the parents who can possibly sacrifice and afford it have their kids either in private schools or at home to keep them from being pawns in someone else's game.

  • RTPMedic Feb 2, 2011

    Really? Going to school at your 'neighborhood school' is a bad thing? Now, someone please explain that to me. What I (and most other people) don't understand is why shipping your kids across the County is a better idea.
    The increase in applications to charter and private schools has to do with the better educational environment found there along with the disarray that the public schools are in.

  • RALEIGHNATIVE25 Feb 2, 2011

    PaperReader: "If I were in Wake and had children that would be getting school aged anytime soon, I would be making a choice between moving out or trying to figure out how to afford private school tuition"

    That is exactly what I am doing for my children (looking into private and charter). The only problem with private is the tuition cost and for a low income family it may not work out. WCPSS has really disappointed me and I survived 13 years of it.
    They have gone from showing up at my mother's job(asking her to remove me from a magnet school;I am african-american) to now wanting to keep us in neighboorhood schools. Education is the foundation for ALL children not just a certain race. Leaving Wake County is something worth considering.

  • PaperReader Feb 2, 2011

    onthewayout "but even I know that it will be many, many years before the focus returns to the kids instead of the politics."

    This is exactly right. No matter whether you prefer neighborhood schools or whether you want busing for diversity, it will be decades before Wake County Public Schools are anything but a football for the NAACP and other groups to kick around for political gain. Children and quality education are the last things on the list.

    If I were in Wake and had children that would be getting school aged anytime soon, I would be making a choice between moving out or trying to figure out how to afford private school tuition.

  • NC Reader Feb 2, 2011

    I have no problem with more charter schools, as long as they can not pick and choose their students. If they get public money, they should be required to educate ALL types of students. That means they must provide transportation and free lunches for students who need those. They must not have require parent volunteer hours unless they transport parents who need transportation to and from the school. They must not require that students be at a certain academic level before entering (for example, can't require them to be ready for Algebra I). They must accept and educate students who have visual or hearing impairments, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, autism, behavior problems, etc. Public schools are required by law to do this. Charter schools shouldn't be able to receive public money if they aren't committed to educating all children.

    Beyond that, bring the charters on.

  • andy2 Feb 2, 2011

    By the way I am sick of paying for Charter Schools. Also known as tax payer financed private schools. The application process and selection process is so incredibly crooked.

  • laurie Feb 2, 2011

    Hey here's an idea...How about we let the goverment have control over our neighborhoods. If they force diversity in where we live all our problems will be solved. We will then have a perfect school system with neighborhood schools and minimal bussing. Obviously I am being sarcastic. This is for all of you that think that our school's problems are lack of diversity, and just shuffling our children around will make them smarter. Let's fix our schools and encourage parents to help as part of the solution.

  • righthere1234 Feb 2, 2011

    Blackdog, I'm curious about how long you have lived in Wake County. WCPSS is not the god-send of public education.

    I'm a product of the WCPSS. I graduated 11 years ago from one of the best high schools in the country. Enloe consistently makes the top 500 list. That being said, when I graduated even I said I would not send my children to any WCPS. To this day, I still stand by that. My husband and I are looking to move out of state to be closer to family, but if we are still in Wake Co. by the time our oldest starts school in 2012, we will either be going the charter or private school route. I do support what the current board is trying to do, but even I know that it will be many, many years before the focus returns to the kids instead of the politics.