There are now 173 charter schools in North Carolina. After the General Assembly lifted the cap of 100 in 2010, the number of public charter schools soared. In the past four years, four new charter schools opened in Wilmington alone putting the total at six. If approved, a seventh, the Wilmington School of the Arts, will open in the fall of 2019.
A recent study published by researchers at Duke University and the University of Rochester finds that of the seven North Carolina districts studied, all of the county charter schools accrued negative fiscal impacts, with one district citing a loss of $500-$700 per pupil. According to the StarNews, Tim Markley, Superintendent of New Hanover County Schools, estimated last year a loss of close to half a million dollars from students returning to public schools from charters.
However, some charter schools show better test scores when compared to their public school counterparts. And parents who choose charter schools say they appreciate the smaller class sizes and the ability of charter schools to be more innovative with their lesson plans and teaching methods. Some proponents of the charter school model characterize charter schools as essentially having the perks of private school without the tuition.
Lori Roy, Director of Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, a charter school in Wilmington
Robert William Smith, Murphy Distinguished Professor of Education at the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington
March 2014 study: The Public Schools Our Children Deserve?