N.C. charter schools granted funding to serve educationally-disadvantaged students

Charter schools using grants to hire teachers, serve more students

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina State Board of Education awarded $17.4 million in grant money to 34 charter schools. Six of the schools are in Mecklenburg County.

The schools have agreed to give selection priority to applications from low-income students.

Lakeside Charter Academy is about to open for its third year serving K-8 students in Cornelius. The $600,000 grant they will receive will help them to recruit students from all backgrounds.

“Your ESL students, your exceptional children, your economically disadvantaged students,” principal Jim Montague said.

Montague says they will be spreading the word in low-income areas to broaden their reach.

“We’ll have a school bus not next year but the following year and that will allow us to pick students up in other areas rather than just Cornelius, so we will be able to serve a bigger population with that,” he said.

The other schools in Mecklenburg County are Bradford Preparatory, Huntersville Charter High School, Queen City Stem, Sugar Creek Charter and Telra Institute.

Bradford Prep opened in North Charlotte in 2014. The school is already serving a diverse population. Head of School Kelly Painter says their $700,000 in grant money will go to expansion and more resources.

“To be able to enhance all the programs that we already had, to make sure our teachers have all the training that they need to make sure we are serving all the students in the best way possible,” Painter says.

ESL and low-income students can choose to be put in their weighted lottery system.

“Right now a student can apply and they would have two more times a chance as if they were if they did not do the weighted lottery,” she said.

This grant was created before the pandemic hit. It is now an added benefit to decreasing the digital divide for students.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.