5 SC public charter schools will cut ties with charter school district

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)– Several charter schools in South Carolina including Cyber Academy based in Greenville want new leadership. The principals of 9 charter schools presented their concerns, frustrations and achievements at a board meeting Thursday to request transferring the school’s oversight out of the public charter school district.
Low test scores, low proficiency levels and low enrollment rates were several areas of discussion the state’s public charter school board used to weigh in on a school’s transfer request. The board says schools are responsible for their own success, but the schools say they need more support from the district.
One school that was denied a request to transfer its authority was Odyssey Online Learning. The board chair expressed the school’s disappointment with not being approved. He says the communication between the schools and the charter school district is not there.
“We have asked for procedures of how to get off of breach. we received a breach letter that said they would be in contact with us to provide technical assistance and support. we actually went two months without hearing from them before we actually sent them a letter,” said Tom Scott, board chairman for Odyssey Online Learning school board.

The word “breach” means the schools are not meeting the goals set for them. The PCSD’s board chairman ays those are the ones they want to keep in their network.

“The basic philosophy of this board has been that schools that are poor performing, failing schools should not transfer to a new authorizer until they get their act together, because whether they mean for it or not that could  be used as a means to escape accountability,” said Don McLaurin.

The new “authorizer” those schools are asking for.. is Erskine College. It’s a move several principals feel would be benefit their students.
Gray Collegiate Academy’s request to transfer was approved. The school feels the partnership with Erskine will help Gray Academy offer students more. “We offer dual enrollment and they could provide a lot of professional development and support we feel a college can provide to us.. because an authorizer is your point of contact between the school and the department of education. they filter the funding the professional development,” said Dr. Brian Newsome, principal at Gray Collegiate Academy.
Requests to transfer were denied for Cyber Academy of SC, SC Virtual Charter School, Odyssey Learning Online, and Midlands STEM Institute.
The board did approve requests for Gray Collegiate Academy, Oceanside Collegiate Academy, Coastal Leadership Academy, Royal Live Oaks Academy and Mevers School of Excellence.
The PCSD board says it does not feel comfortable transferring the school  to a new regulator because of its current proficiency levels.

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