Limestone Charter Association Board Votes To Accept Transfer Schools

Charles Wyatt
www.limestonecharters.org

Less than four months the official announcement of the creation Limestone Charter Association, the Board of Directors for the new charter authorizer for the state of South Carolina voted to accept six school that recently applied for transfers.

The Board of Directors voted to approve acceptance of the six new schools during its meeting held on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Hines & Riggins Center on the campus of Limestone University.

The schools will be under the authorization of the Limestone Charter Association (LCA) beginning on July 1, 2022. Five of the six are currently authorized by the Charter Institute at Erskine, while the other is authorized by the South Carolina Public Charter School District. Each of the respective school boards voted recently to leave their current authorizers and to apply for transfer acceptance by the Limestone Charter Association.

Limestone Charter Association officials noted that financial audits of each school found no material weaknesses, no significant weaknesses, and no non-compliance material weaknesses in the financial statements. Each school is considered in good financial standing.

The six schools transferring to the Limestone Charter Association include Charleston Advancement Academy High School (Charleston), Coastal Leadership Academy (Myrtle Beach), Gates School (North Charleston), Horse Creek Academy (Aiken), Legion Collegiate Academy (Rock Hill), and Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Mt. Pleasant). The Charleston Advancement Academy High School is currently authorized by the South Carolina Public Charter School District, while the other five are authorized by the Charter Institute at Erskine.

Limestone University President Dr. Darrell Parker, who serves on the Board of the LCA, noted after the meeting on November 17 that newly-formed schools are expected to apply for acceptance by the Limestone Charter Association in the near future. He added that discussions are ongoing regarding additional schools looking to transfer from their current authorizers.

While each school listed reasons for their transfer requests, in their respective letters of intent to transfer to the Limestone Charter Association, Legion Collegiate Academy and Oceanside Collegiate Academy both noted that they wished to transfer to the LCA “to pursue its right to fulfill its mission statement and align with an authorizer that protects school autonomy. We seek the appropriate level of oversight to ensure state and federal accountability while simultaneously ensuring a one size fits all portfolio is not the intended goal of the authorizer.”

Gates School said that it wished to transfer to Limestone Charter Association because the school believes that a partnership with LCA is in its best interest in order to be able to carry out its mission.

The Charleston Advancement Academy High School noted in its request to transfer that it was “thrilled with the opportunity to work with the Limestone Charter Association as its charter sponsor. We are especially excited to transfer our charter to an authorizer that emphasizes the importance of school autonomy and communication with its sponsored schools.”

There are currently only three ways a public charter school can exist in South Carolina, according to state law: It must be sponsored by a local school district, by the statewide South Carolina Public Charter School District, or by an institution of higher education. Because they are funded by taxpayers, the schools are public and must abide by the same rules was traditional public schools. For administrative purposes, the authorizers can receive up to two percent of each school’s state funding in South Carolina.

The Limestone Charter Association and the Charter Institute at Erskine are currently the only two institutions of higher learning permitted by the S.C. Department of Education to act as charter school authorizers.

Limestone University officially announced the formation of the Limestone Charter Association during the Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina’s Leadership Summit on Wednesday, July 21, in Columbia. The LCA will sponsor independent, innovative charter schools across South Carolina.

Like all public charter schools, each of the six transferring to the LCA are innovative public schools created to close the opportunity gap and deliver an excellent education to every student.

The mission of the Charleston Advancement Academy High School is to provide a comprehensive high school education to at-risk students that leads to students’ attainment of a diploma, acceptance to college, or pursuit of a career and culminates in each student having a positive impact in his or her community.

Coastal Leadership Academy's mission is to engage students in Project Based Learning that will improve academic achievement, critical and creative thinking, and awareness of their leadership roles in our community and environment.

With a strong commitment to meeting the unmet needs of so many struggling readers, the Gates School aspires to unlock the potential of each student with dyslexia and serve as a regional model charter school that is a beacon to educators and parents as to what can be accomplished through dedication, service, and a supportive educational foundation.

Horse Creek Academy emphasizes a core belief to educate every child and the whole child, without exception to race, culture, creed, citizenship, social-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or identity.

It is the mission of both Legion Collegiate Academy and Oceanside Collegiate Academy to serve high school students in a small, safe, family-centered setting, who seek the opportunity and challenge of rigorous curriculum, high academic standards, and elite athletics while earning up to two years of college while in high school.

Currently, there are 89 charter schools across South Carolina serving nearly 50,000 students.

The Limestone Charter Association office is based in Columbia at Limestone University’s Student Service Center located on Arbor Lake Drive inside the Fontaine Business Park.

For more information about the Limestone Charter Association, visit its website at www.limestonecharters.org.