The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday approved creating two new middle college high schools on CPCC campuses. The schools will offer a new grade 13 that lets students stay in CMS an extra year to earn diplomas and tuition-free associates degrees.
Both are modeled on Cato Middle College High, which debuted on the northeast Charlotte campus of Central Piedmont Community College in 2007. Theyre designed to serve students who want an accelerated education, as well as those at risk of dropping out in traditional high schools. Each will eventually take 300 students.
The high school on the Levine campus in Matthews will open in January, with 11th graders who are already taking classes at Cato. The school on the Harper campus in southwest Charlotte will open in August 2014.
Students at all public schools can take tuition-free courses at community colleges. The middle college schools provide more flexible schedules and a college setting, with easier access to CPCC instruction. The plan calls for CMS to spend $40,000 a year in county money to provide bus passes so students can get there.
Plans approved Tuesday call for both schools to include career training and internships. The Levine campus includes the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology, which will give high school students access to training in that field. The Harper campus includes applied technology labs in construction, HVAC, welding, electronics, flexography and screen printing.
Both schools will open in modular classrooms provided by CMS. If the CPCC bonds on the Nov. 5 ballot are approved, permanent classrooms will be built for the high school students. CPCC is already straining to find room for its growing enrollment.
Superintendent Heath Morrison has been talking about the new schools for months. Theyre part of his plan to expand educational options that will prepare graduates for college or careers. Tuesdays vote launched the process of getting those schools approved as part of North Carolinas cooperative innovative high school program.
It also provided details about the project, including costs. The budgets submitted for each school are about $1.2 million a year when they reach full enrollment, but most of that $855,000 a year comes from the value of college classes taken by high school students and paid by the state.
Other costs include $307,000 a year at each school for a contract with N.C. New Schools, $5,000 a year for testing materials and $2,000 a year for marketing.
Each school will have a principal, a guidance counselor, a registrar/financial secretary and six to eight teachers, with the faculty paid for by the state.
The board also approved almost $16.5 million in contracts to improve athletic facilities at Olympic, West Mecklenburg and Garinger high schools. All three will get new lighting, turf and tracks. Olympic and West Meck also will get new bleachers, field houses and concession/restroom facilities.
The money comes from bonds voters approved in 2007. Work is scheduled to be finished next August.
Helms: 704-358-5033 Twitter: @anndosshelms
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