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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For months now, the New Hanover County School Board has contemplated what to do with the recently closed D.C. Virgo Middle School. After much discussion at a meeting Tuesday night, board members voted in favor of pursuing an application for Virgo to be turned into a charter school.

“By a 5-2 vote, we voted to have an innovative partnership,” Board member Derrick Hickey said. “As far as I can tell, it’s the first time in the state that the Board of Education has partnered with a community group to start a charter school.”

That partnership will be between the board and the Blue Ribbon Commission.

“It’s made up of community leaders,” Hickey said. “Our current chairman of the county commission is a member, our current mayor and (District Attorney) Ben David. So it’s a group of community leaders who have gotten together to pursue the best interest of the children.”

Many of those on the board expressed concern that a traditional school just wouldn’t work again. Some said the charter school would give parents a new option.

“We tried to run a middle school at Virgo, and for a variety of reasons, the parents pulled their children out of the school,” Hickey said. “We had 400 set to attend, and only 200 showed up.”

Charter school or not, many agreed on the key to turning Virgo around.

“We need the community to be involved, to buy into Virgo and the success of Virgo,” Hickey said.

If the charter application is approved by the state, the school would open next fall as Virgo Urban Prep Charter School.

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