State OKs first charter school on Outer Banks

By on March 2, 2012

State education officials have approved the first charter school on the Outer Banks.

The Corolla Education Foundation was among nine organizations statewide given “fast-track” approval for charter schools Wednesday.

Plans are to open Waters Edge Village School in August.

“We are so excited to be able to make this a reality, but this is only the beginning,” Corolla Education Foundation Vice President Sylvia Wolff said in announcing the state’s approval.

The school is planned for kindergarten through 6th grade in the remote community on the northern Currituck Outer Banks. The town’s children now ride by bus to the Currituck County mainland on a circuitous route of more than an hour.

The education foundation is working out the details of obtaining a building in Old Corolla Village.

Last year, the General Assembly lifted a statewide cap on the number of charter schools. Under fast-track approval, schools are given as little as four months to prepare rather than the customary 12 months.

A total of 27 organizations submitted fast-track applications, according to the state Board of Education.

Wolf said that families of 30 children have committed to the school. At least one family from Dare County is interested because of employment in Corolla.

Initially, the school will hire two to three teachers and a director. Grades will be combined into three classes, Wolf said. Older students would help tutor their younger classmates, which research shows can create an atmosphere of greater responsibility and reduce incidents of bullying, she said.

The school will depend on a network of volunteers to operate and hopes to incorporate a variety of extracurricular activities into the program.

The school will receive funding under a per-pupil formula from the state and from the county.

Difficulty schooling children in Corolla has a long history. At one time, Currituck and Dare counties had an agreement under which Corolla children could attend Dare County Schools, which are closer.

Later, plans to create a passenger ferry service went awry when it was found that a channel was dug out illegally on the Corolla side after the state had obtained the boat.

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