Wake County Will Ask To Run Two Elementary Schools Like Charters

Mar 22, 2016

Credit Enokson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Wake County Public Schools plans to ask permission to run two elementary schools like charter schools.

The two schools are Barwell Road Elementary and Walnut Creek Elementary in southeast Raleigh. The state labeled both schools as "low-performing" based on student test scores for the last two years, and that means they qualify to use a "restart model." The model allows schools to operate outside some state laws—much like charter schools.

Wake school board chief of staff Marvin Connelly says the district wants to use the restart model so the schools can expand the calendar and have flexibility in funding. Under state laws, schools usually get funding tied to specific staff positions or specific expenses. Connelly says the restart model may allow the schools to get funding in a large block that the district could decide how to allocate.

"For example,  if we wanted to have more than one counselor in a school or more than one psychologist in a school, or more than one (teacher assistant) in a classroom, or teacher, we would have that flexibility under the legislation," Connelly explained.

Wake staff is drafting an application for the restart to send to the State Board of Education for approval. Connelly says he hopes to have a decision in time for the two schools to begin the 2016-2017 school year under the new model.