South Carolina’s public charter school district has been in operation for three years now and interest in the schools in the statewide school district is growing, according to charter school district superintendent Dr. Wayne Brazell. He says the growth is especially evident for the virtual school option, which parents and students choose for a variety of reasons.
Funding for the charter school district received a boost in the recently ratified state budget. Brazell points out that the five existing virtual schools received $700 per student last year. That funding has now been increased to $2400 per student. The number of virtual schools will increase by one at the opening of the upcoming school year.
There are six brick and mortar schools in the statewide district. That will grow to seven during the upcoming school year with the new Chinese-language immersion elementary school opening this fall in Cayce.
AUDIO: Brazell says he’s fascinated and surprised about the growing interest in virtual schools (1:21)
Coming from the traditional public school environment, Brazell says he admits to being surprised about the growing interest in the online school format. Bzazell says some of the virtual schools follow the traditional format of lesson presentation and planning while others offer more flexibility. Brazell adds that the overall concept of virtual schools is anytime, anyplace, any pace learning ; and more and more students are taking advantage of this concept.
Brazell says many see virtual schools as a substitute for homeschooling, but statistics show that is certainly not the case.
AUDIO: Brazell says virtual schools proivde flexibility, but are not substitutes for those who want to home school their youngsters (:49)
Like traditional public schools, charter schools do not charge tuition and must address the entire state curriculum for all grade levels offered.