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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will partner with a local nonprofit to run a new PreK-8th grade school proposed as part of the redevelopment of the former Boulevard Homes community in west Charlotte. The school board approved an agreement with the Renaissance West Community Initiative at its Tuesday night meeting.

The public-private partnership has been years in the making and will jointly lead the 54-classroom school scheduled to open in 2017. The new school, which will provide relief for Berryhill School and Reid Park Academy, will be built using $30 million in voter-approved CMS bond money, according to Renaissance.The school will also serve as the centerpiece of the larger $75 million community revitalization at West Boulevard and Billy Graham Parkway.

Through community partnerships, the 41-acre community will also feature mixed-income and senior housing, child and adult development, health care services, a community center and more. Laura Clark, executive director of Renaissance West Community Initiative, said the goal is to provide “cradle-to-career education,” break intergenerational poverty and bring additional economic growth to the West Boulevard corridor.

The new school, which will open in 2017, is the latest step in a long community march toward pulling together government agencies, nonprofit groups and CMS to support students. It represents an acknowledgment that student success or failure can’t be separated from poverty, ill health, family turmoil and many other challenges that shape a child’s ability to learn. “We can’t continue to expect the school district to solve every problem in a child’s life,” Clark said.


Charlotte Observer