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Education

State Approves Two New Charlotte-Area Charter Schools For 2022

Bonnie Cone screen shot.png
Bonnie Cone Leadership Academy is one of two Charlotte-area charter schools approved to open in 2022.

The North Carolina Board of Education Thursday approved five new charter schools to open in fall of 2022, including two in the Charlotte area.

The new Bonnie Cone Leadership Academy is a spinoff of Bonnie Cone Classical Academy, a K-8 charter school that opened in Huntersville in 2019. It will serve grades K-12, including students who move up from the existing school, and got approval to open in the Huntersville area with about 1,500 students. It will be managed by Charter One management company (read the application here).

Dogwood Classical Academy was approved to open in Cabarrus County with about 350 elementary school students. It will eventually serve grades K-8, teaching critical thinking with the Socratic method (read the application here).

Charter schools are public schools run by independent boards. They’ve been growing in recent years, while school districts have leveled off or shrunk. Five new schools in one year is significantly fewer than in peak years. In 2014, for instance, the state approved 26 new charter schools.

This batch of applications was filed during the pandemic. State Charter Schools Director Dave Machado says he thinks that factor, combined with a larger number of existing charter schools and a more rigorous screening process, led to the smaller total.

The state's Charter School Advisory Board reviewed 21 applications for schools hoping to open in 2022. Those rejected included a K-5 all-girls boarding school and an all-boys K-8 school, both in Mecklenburg County.

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