Charter school proposal submitted

Charter school proposal submitted

CHAMPAIGN – A proposal for a charter school has been submitted to the Champaign school board.

Andrea Carter, one of the organizers behind the proposal, said she submitted the required information to the board last week. The board has 45 days from when it received the proposal to schedule a public hearing on the matter.

Charter schools are public schools operated independently from the district and overseen by their own boards. They must be approved by the local school district's board and by the state board of education.

School board President Margie Skirvin declined comment on the proposal Monday, saying she has not yet read it.

The local proposal calls for opening an all-boys charter school in August 2007 for kindergarten through fourth grade. A fifth-grade class would be added in the school's second year.

Carter said the school would target boys who are struggling in school. She hopes it will help address the underlying issues and guide parents in how they can help their children be successful.

Carter, who teaches a fourth-fifth-grade combined classroom at Dr. Howard Elementary School, said she decided to pursue a charter school after looking at the number of underachieving students in Champaign.

"There's a need that needs to be filled here, and I just felt I would love to serve the at-risk population in this capacity," she said.

Carter said since she started working on the proposal, there has been increasing interest across the nation in single-sex schools.

She said the school would admit up to 92 students the first year and grow to a maximum of 244 students at the end of five years. The school would be located at the New Hope Church, 911 Bradley Ave. Carter said the church housed a private school at one time and has eight classrooms.

The organizers of the proposal have established a three-person board of directors and an advisory board, Carter said. They are also collecting signatures from community members who support the proposal.

Carter worked on a successful charter school proposal for a vocational high school in Cleveland, Ohio, before coming to Illinois. It was established in 2004, and has now expanded with an elementary school.

A charter school was proposed in Champaign-Urbana in 2001, but ultimately rejected by the Champaign school board and then, in 2002, by the state board of education.

Sections (2):News, Local
Topics (1):Education
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