Pickens County getting new charter school by 2016

By D. C. Moody dmoody@civitasmedia.com

April 25, 2014

EASLEY — The Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce’s Third Thursday Lunch was highlighted April 17 by the announcement of a new charter school in the county’s future.

Betty Roe, director of the newly announced Intensive Charter School of Pickens County, addressed those in attendance, giving new details concerning a projected opening in 2015 in Easley.

“Intensive (Charter School) is wanting to reach out to the business community, because what we’re hearing is our kids aren’t going into the work world prepared to be part of the workforce,” Roe said. “We are hoping business leaders will become a part of our program and teach the kids what it means to be a part of the business world and working in conjunction with a team.”

According to Roe, Intensive Charter will be housed in The Dream Center in Easley until the funding can be secured to acquire 20 to 30 acres for a permanent home.

“Local tax money follows the student, but we haven’t received any funds from the state for start-up,” Roe explained. “We have applied for nonprofit status and until we find a permanent home The Dream Center is where we will hold classes. The program is designed to be specialized in our focus.”

The first student body of 2015 will be made up of students in grades five through seven. According to Roe, the school will hopefully be adding eighth grade to the student body in 2017.

Intensive Charter School had originally submitted its application to the state with at-risk students as the focus of the school, but has since amended its application. The focus of the school will be centered on the business community’s participation.

“Our students will need to see what our business leaders have learned and how to apply it as a member of a business,” Roe said. “That’s what our initial focus is going to be.”

Roe also explained charter schools are free and any student within the school district is eligible to apply. Should there be more applications than seats available, a lottery system will be used to determine which students will be enrolled.