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State Approves Two New Charter Schools For The Charlotte Region

Aspire Carolinas Foundation
Here's a rendering of the site of the new Huntersville Charter High School.

The North Carolina Board of Education approved five new charter schools Thursday — and two of them will be in Mecklenburg County.

The state board cleared the way for Huntersville Charter High School and Telra Institute elementary school to open in August of 2021.

The Huntersville school is not one of the controversial municipal charter schools that’s generated debate over the past couple of years. Those schools, which so far don’t exist, would be sponsored by municipal governments and give seating priority to town residents.

Huntersville Charter High is sponsored by the Aspire Carolinas Foundation, which includes prominent Charlotte philanthropist Dale Halton on its board. The school will offer vocational training for trades such as plumbing, electrical and culinary work. The plan calls for admitting 210 ninth- and 10th-graders in the first year, pulling them from Mecklenburg, Gaston, Iredell and Cabarrus counties.

Huntersville Charter High will be located on the Huntersville Education Campus, which is also home to two private schools serving students with special needs. It’s next to Hopewell High on Beatties Ford Road.

Telra Institute will be an elementary school offering an accelerated curriculum for gifted and highly motivated students. The application says it’s patterned on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools talent development magnets but will serve the "south Mecklenburg desert" that has no such magnets nearby. The location hasn’t been chosen and the application says it could end up in Union County. Telra Institute is scheduled to open with 238 students in grades K-4.

In North Carolina, charter school enrollment has been growing while most school districts are shrinking or flattening. Since the state lifted the 100-school limit in 2011, the Charlotte area has seen more new charter schools than any other part of the state.

The state got 14 charter applications this year, and five were from Mecklenburg County. The other three that won approval are in Buncombe, Durham and Guilford counties.