Parents Speak Out About Possible Town-Operated Charter Schools in Huntersville

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – Parents and teachers are speaking out about possible town-run charter schools in Huntersville. An advisory board will make a recommendation to town leaders in a few weeks.

“I think a municipal charter will just be another way to isolate us,” says J.M. Alexander Middle School teacher Leslie Cosentine.

The sixth-grade science teacher spoke out Monday night against the possible town-run schools.

“I’ve seen the success of charter borne on the back of the people who are left behind, it’s a self-selected population,” Cosentine says.

Last year, H.B. 514 gave Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Cornelius the ability to build and operate their own charter schools.

Town leaders say they want more local control and are concerned about overcrowding.

Right now, the advisory board is considering the pros and cons of five options. The could recommend: doing nothing, trying to partner with CMS, opening and operating charter schools, partnering with an existing charter school, or looking into splitting off from CMS.

“We have good schools up here and we have a lot of growth, but they haven’t really said hey we’re going to build any new schools anytime soon,” explains Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla.

Town leaders anticipate 10,000 new students in the area by 2035. They are still upset that the school board responded to the charter school bill by taking the four towns off of the priority list for new schools.

“I think we definitely have to look at some of the options where we’re doing something. We can’t just not do anything,” Aneralla says.

The advisory board has determined the earliest Huntersville could open it’s own charter schools would be 2022.