Charter schools keep $500K after 84 students transfer to New Hanover Co. Schools

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —┬áThe New Hanover County Schools superintendent is speaking out over the shocking number of students transferring from charter schools each year.

Superintendent Tim Markley said during the 2016-2017 school year, 84 students transferred in from charter schools.

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“We just want to know, when we see students coming back, why are they coming back, and if it’s a lot from one school, is there something that’s happening there that needs to be addressed,” Markley said.

Markley said 44 of those 84 students came from Douglass Academy, which has put a strain on Snipes Academy of Art and Design and Rachel Freeman Elementary School.

“Seventeen students have come from Douglass Academy, and, well, it takes time for us to get to learn the students and figure out where they are academically,” Snipes Academy Principal Cindy Talbert said.



Markley said it takes extra resources that they do not get, but the charter school does. That is because the money usually does not follow the student.

Markley said each year, the school system or the charter school gets about $7,000 per student between the county and the state. If the student was at the charter school for the first 20 days of the year, the money stays at the charter school even if the student transfers to a school in the district.

“When you take that number of students, you’re talking about in the neighborhood of half a million dollars or more,” Markley said. “Those are dollars that could be used for teachers. Charter schools are public schools, so they’re dealing with those students, and that’s a good choice for a lot parents, but when you bring that many students back at different points in the year, then it’s just an added cost that we have to pick up picking up those students from where they are and moving forward.”

Markley said the 20-day state law may need to be given a second look.

“When it comes to charter schools, since it is public dollars, instead of looking at the attendance date once a year, maybe looking at it twice a year,” Markley said.

For now, Markley said they just want to know why the number of transfers is so high.

We reached out to officials from Douglas Academy who is owned by Roger Bacon Academy. We are still waiting for a response.