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Kannapolis’ first charter school to open in 2016

By Jeanie Groh

jeanie.groh@salisburypost.com

The first charter school in Kannapolis is in the final stages of the approval process by the state, and is on track to open in the fall of 2016.

The N.C. Charter School Advisory Board unanimously recommended that the school be granted “ready to open status.” The State Board of Education did a first-read of the recommendation this week and will give final approval in June or July.

The school’s governing board will be the North Carolina Charter Educational Foundation, a nine-member not-for-profit organization that will be responsible for the school’s legal and financial operations. The board already runs Cabarrus Charter Academy and Langtree Charter Academy.

Kannapolis Charter Academy is backed by Charter Schools USA, an education management company with schools in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana and North Carolina. The North Carolina schools are located in Concord, Mooresville and Cary.

The school’s board of directors can now put all their carefully developed plans into motion.

“We have identified a site,” said Sandy Castro, director of development for Charter Schools USA.

The school will likely be built between Kannapolis Parkway and Highway 3.

Kannapolis Charter Academy will be a sister school to Cabarrus Charter Academy in Concord.

Cabarrus Charter Academy outperformed the North Carolina proficiency average reading, math and science during its first year and has more than 800 students on its wait list, according to the school’s 2014 School Performance Report.

“We’re definitely proud of our first year results,” Castro said.

Kannapolis Charter School will be identical to the school in Concord.

The school will serve kindergarten through sixth grade during its first year and will add an additional grade each year until it reaches eighth grade. Its starting enrollment will be 661, and will eventually grow to 1,145 at full capacity.

Enrollment will be determined through a lottery system. Any North Carolina resident is allowed to enroll.

Closer to the beginning of next school year, the school’s governing board will begin accepting applications for administrative, teaching and support positions. Kannapolis Charter Academy is expected to employ 80-100 individuals.

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