Wake County Schools

Wake charter, private schools see increased applications

Posted February 1, 2011 4:00 p.m. EST
Updated February 2, 2011 12:32 a.m. EST

— 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.

“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.