Aiken County BOE denies Cotton Mill Charter School application, institution leaders exploring other options


GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF) – A proposed Charter school in Graniteville won’t be opening up anytime soon.

WJBF NewsChannel 6 has learned the application submitted to the Board of Education for Cotton Mill Charter School was denied for being incomplete.

Despite leaders of the institution arguing that another school could help the overcrowding in Aiken County Public Schools, it wasn’t enough to convince the B.O.E.

A spokesperson for C.M.C.S. says they’re disappointed, but are now exploring other options to determine the future of the charter school.

Crowded hallways aren’t an issue at Horse Creek Academy, but that’s not the case for the rest of the county.

“I know Byrd Elementary has got 119 percent capacity right now.” Mary Baughman, a resident of Graniteville, told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Since opening the charter school has relieved public schools of nearly 600 students.

“It’s not that we are going to get all the kids out of their schools, we’re going to get a good percentage.” H.C.A. Principal Mark Brown said. “I mean this year we’re going to take about 542 here, but we do cap ours.”

Brown says he’s thrilled to hear of the proposed Cotton Mill Charter School, that could be built in Graniteville.

However, he wasn’t surprised to learn it was denied its first attempt at getting the B.O.E.’s approval.

“It’s difficult to get that charter school application in and get all the materials. So from my understanding a lot of times the first try is pretty much a no.” Brown told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Brown says out of dozens of charter school applications last year, only one was approved in the state of South Carolina.

C.M.C.S.’s request was denied for two main reasons.

A spokesperson for the Board of Education says the proposed curriculum needs to be more clear and the school also didn’t nail down any grants. Which was a big red flag for the district because funding a charter school is not cheap.

“Our budget this year is $3.4 million,” said Brown.

Still some parents feel cramming students and teachers into tights spaces is not an option.

“Just with all the explosion of growth happening here in Graniteville, is that definitely something that needed here?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“I believe so,” said Baughman.

Cotton Mill Charter School can reapply for its application again on February 1, 2018.

Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford has offered the intuition’s leaders advice.

To learn more about C.M.C.S. click here. 

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