Lakes and Bridges Charter School is currently moving through the extensive process of requesting a charter from the South Carolina Department of Education.
On January 31, we submitted our full charter application to the S.C. Department of Education and S.C. Public Charter School District. This large application included complete descriptions of the need for the school, as well as our detailed plans for curriculum, financing, facilities, budget and governance.
Our initial charter evaluation reflected that the committee felt that we met most requirements, but they still had some questions about a few tenants. The S.C. Public Charter School District (SCPCSD) requested a Capacity Hearing in order to ask questions about our capacity to run a school and be good stewards of state funding. This hearing request was good news: not all prospective schools get through the initial review and warrant the committee wanting to learn more. So on March 15, seven of our founding committee members traveled to Columbia to participate in a Capacity Hearing with representatives of the SCPCSD.
The result of the Capacity Hearing will be a recommendations report, in which the SCPCSD makes a recommendation as to whether or not we should receive a charter. (We are still awaiting that report). That report is one piece of the process; the other is a public hearing in front of the SCPCSD Board of Trustees. Our public hearing will take place Thursday, April 6, in Columbia (time TBD).
During this public hearing, members of the committee will be able to speak up in support of the school during the public comments section in the morning. Then, during our scheduled time, we will be allowed 10 minutes to present an overview of our school. The Board will then have 20 minutes to ask us questions. Then the Board will discuss and deliberate for 20 minutes. At the end of this process, the Board will vote to approve or deny our charter application (in accordance with S.C. Code Ann. Section 59-40-70(B)).
This means, by the evening of April 6, 2017, we’ll know if Lakes & Bridges Charter School, a school designed specifically to teach for the needs of students with dyslexia and related reading challenges, will become a reality.
If it’s in your belief system, please pray for us. If not, please send us good wishes and supportive thoughts. We’ve come a long way since Nancy, Bonnie, Bud and others gathered around the table and first discussed starting a school for the type of children they’d been teaching and tutoring for years. The founding committee has worked diligently for two years to get to this point. We’re going to fight for this school and for these students.
If you want to help us cross this last finish line, please keep circulating Letters of Interest to your friends and fellow parents so that we can show the Board that the community wants and needs this school. Print out forms and take them to your book club, school parents’ meetings, church groups, yoga class – wherever parents may be discussing their children’s need for a better education. Thank you for your support thus far, and please keep us in your thoughts through April 6.