For Immediate Release: May 11, 2017
Taylor Fulcher, Director of Communications
South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees Approves Six Charter Schools in the 2016-2017 Application Cycle
Columbia, South Carolina—During the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD) May 11, 2017 Board of Trustees meeting, one charter applicant—Polaris Tech, was approved to open. The two remaining applications heard today were not approved. Today’s board meeting closes out the 2016-2017 SCPCSD charter school application cycle.
Polaris Tech states its mission is to “unleash student potential and cultivate aspirations, where students are career-focused, college-ready and invest in the community”. Polaris Tech has expressed its intention to open in Ridgeland, South Carolina in the fall of 2018.
On April 6, 2017, three charter schools were approved; East Link Academy, a Mandarin immersion school slated to open in Greenville, Lakes and Bridges Charter School, a literacy and dyslexic focused school slated to open in Pickens, and a Trenton based charter school, Bettis Preparatory Leadership Academy. On April 7, 2017, one charter school was approved to open; East Light Academy, a Mandarin immersion school slated to open in Charleston. On April 20, 2017 Pathways-SC was approved to open in North Charleston. All schools will open in the fall of 2018.
Elliot Smalley, SCPCSD Superintendent, was quoted saying “On this last day of our application cycle, it is clear that education and community leaders are stepping up like never before to create high quality, innovative charter schools in the state of South Carolina. Of the 49 letters of intent and 18 fully complete applications submitted, six charter schools were approved this cycle—each with a clear-cut mission to make a huge difference for kids. The approved charter applicants exhibited the capacity to succeed under the charter bargain: autonomy for school leaders in exchange for clear accountability and high expectations for students.
South Carolina is at a crossroads. With a recent U.S. & World News Report ranking the state #50 in education coupled with the staggering ACT statistic of 1 in every 50 Black students being college-ready—we know that high-quality charter schools can be a solution to this crisis. With an unrelenting belief in what kids can achieve—despite race, poverty, or zip code—we will see the needle move urgently in the state of South Carolina for the kids who need it most. Looking forward, we will do whatever it takes to authorize great schools, ensure access and equity for every child, grow what works, and replace what does not.”
This school year, the South Carolina Public Charter School District oversees 35 public charter schools serving approximately 22,000 students across the state. Next school year, the SCPCSD will welcome four charter school transfers from Greenville, a replication charter school in Columbia, and a new school in Goose Creek. In total, the SCPCSD will see an increase of 3,000 students next year.
In the fall of 2018, SCPCSD is expected to oversee a total of 46 schools in South Carolina.