The Shelby Star
Leaders overseeing the organization of Cleveland County’s first charter school approved a lottery system Sunday that will help determine which applicants will attend the new school when it opens this August.
Pinnacle Classical Academy will approve 308 total students – kindergarteners through sixth-graders – for the 2013-14 calendar year.
The lottery process will only take place if the school receives more initial applications than the allotted student enrollment.
School leaders expect nearly 400 student applicants.
"Our biggest concern is disappointed parents,” said Debbie Clary, the academy’s board chairwoman and a former state senator who represented Cleveland County. “It’s disappointing we can’t accept every child that applies."
Sixteen of the 308 slots have been reserved for potential students with parents on the academy’s board members and teachers.
The reserved slots for school administration and board members were approved 4-1 at a Sunday meeting of the Pinnacle school board.
"It’s the right thing to do for our employees," Clary said of the reserved slots. "If they wish to have their child at the school, they should be able to."
The academy won’t hire any teachers or teacher assistants until after the lottery is complete, Clary said.
The school plans to employ 14 teachers. It’s still unknown how many teacher assistants will be hired, Clary said.
How does the lottery work?
The lottery system is based on numbers, similar to a Bingo game.
Student applicants will each receive a number. If that number is pulled, parents will be notified via mail.
Parents have 10 days to notify the school of their interest in their student attending the school.
Any available spaces, from the lottery or slots meant for children of teachers or board members, will be filled from a waiting list.
"We have to have full enrollment to be successful," said Wes Westmoreland, vice chairman of the school’s board of directors.
So far, the board has received nearly 400 letters of intent from parents interested in enrolling their children.
With 308 student slots available and 16 of those reserved for children of administrators and teachers, 292 spaces will remain for public children who must be North Carolina residents to attend the school.
School moving toward opening
More than 150 parents and their children attended a Pinnacle town hall meeting Saturday.
Seeing Pinnacle grow from an idea to a future school has been humbling for Clary.
"To watch these parents that have been with us… and now they’re filling out the real application feels pretty good," she said.
The academy plans to open its doors this August in the former Hallelujah Acres store site on South Post Road while a permanent location is built. The school will then relocate to a 56-acre permanent location on Joe’s Lake Road.
Parents can begin filling out initial applications Tuesday. All initial applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. April 5.
The board plans to announce the academy’s headmaster in April, Clary said.
There were two big announcements this week for Pinnacle Classical Academy, Cleveland County’s first charter school.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced that Pinnacle Classical Academy has been awarded a full charter to begin operation in August of 2013. This announcement officially creates a new public school in Cleveland County.
“We have worked for nearly two years to receive our official charter, and have all of the pieces in place now to move forward; a lot will happen very quickly,” said Pinnacle board chair Debbie Clary. “The most important thing at the moment is to get the applications from all interested parties- students and personnel- as quickly as possible,” she stated.
Pinnacle will began taking applications March 11th through April 5th; applications will be available online at www.PinnacleClassicalAcademy.com, or at Badcock Furniture, 1404 S Lafayette St in Shelby or Westmoreland Printers on East Dixon Boulevard in Shelby. Student applications must be postmarked by April 5, 2013. All rising kindergarteners through 6th graders in North Carolina are eligible, the school is tuition free. If more applications are submitted than there is space available, the school will hold a public lottery on Friday, April 12 at 4PM at the Cleveland County Extension Building Auditorium, 130 South Post Road in Shelby.
In addition this week, the General Assembly passed a bill allowing Cleveland County to convey property to the school for its permanent location, located on Joe’s Lake Road in Shelby. Commissioners voted to do so in December, pending the receipt of the charter and passage of the legislation. Senator Warren Daniel and Representatives Tim Moore and Kelly Hastings shepherded the bill through the General Assembly. “I am very pleased that the Cleveland County Commission has seen fit to furnish property for this school, I am proud to be a part of the process,” said Senator Daniel.
More information including applications for enrollment and for employment are available online at www.PinnacleClassicalAcademy.com beginning March 11th.