A new law that gives charter school students more access to extracurricular activities at traditional schools was signed Monday by Gov. Nikki Haley, less than a week after the director of Georgetown County’s soon-to-open only charter school assumed his duties.
Lonnie Yancsurak, the first director of the Coastal Montessori Charter School which opens in August, said the new law is great news for his school.
The law allows charter school students to participate in sports, clubs and other activities at public schools that are not offered at their schools.
Yancsurak said he is looking forward to working with Waccamaw Middle School to provide opportunities for the charter school students.
“Since we are a brand new school, this is obviously something that our students will really benefit from right away. I am still learning about the extracurricular activities at Waccamaw Middle but it is great to know that our kids can participate,” he said. “I know that they have sports at the middle school, so our older students will be able to participate in those.”
Haley, when signing the bill at a ceremony in Greenville, said it gives parents who want to send their children to charter schools more options.
Yancsurak agreed, saying charter schools usually do not have the budget to fund many extracurricular activities.
“Because charter schools tend to run so lean, it is great to be able to offer extra activities that we might not normally be able to provide,” he said.
State Education Superintendent Mick Zais said while charter schools “are not a magic bullet” they are a great way to provide a “personalized and customized education for every student — not a standardized and uniform education for every student.”
He also said charter schools have to be more accountable than traditional public schools. He said a public school that fails gets more money but a charter school closes if it is unsatisfactory.
Haley agreed, saying charter schools increase competition which is needed because it “lifts the quality of the teachers. It lifts the options for the students and it allows the parents to see the accountability.”
By Scott Harper
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