About 1,400 more students are going back to school this week, as Sugar Creek Charter School opened with a new high school.
One of Charlotte’s original charter schools, Sugar Creek has operated in a former Kmart on North Tryon Street since 1999. Last year the K-8 school added ninth-graders, and this year it bought a church about 3 miles away on Old Concord Road.
The school’s board bought and renovated the former University City Church, along with an adjacent gymnasium and almost 11 acres, for $4.6 million. Ninth- and 10th-graders got their first look at their new home at an open house Tuesday evening. Their classes start Wednesday.
Charter schools are a form of public education run by nonprofit boards. They get public money for education, but not for facilities, which makes expansion a challenge.
Still, charter schools are growing at a rapid clip, especially in the Charlotte region, since the state lifted a 100-school cap in 2011.
Charters also have more flexibility with their academic calendar. While most school districts and many charters start their year on Aug. 24, a steady trickle of charter openings will take place over the next 2 1/2 weeks.