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Charter school forum small, positive

Dr. Yvonne Commodore.
Photo by Michelle Davis

The woman who is trying to bring a new charter school to Colleton County continues taking steps forward, holding her first public forum on the issue this past Saturday.

About 15 Colleton County parents attended the meeting: each of those who attended signed a petition favoring the new school, and pledging that their children would attend the potential school. “Everyone who came submitted an application. It was a very positive meeting,” said Dr. Yvonne Commodore, a current Charleston County educator and principal who is working to open a charter school in Colleton County. Also a pastor, Commodore is being relocated to the Walterboro area.

Commodore began investigating a charter school for the county about a year ago. She has garnered about 130 signatures of parents in favor of creating a charter school. According to her, she needs approximately 70 more signatures before submitting the petition to the S.C. Department of Education for their review.

On Saturday, interested parents asked questions about the would-be school’s logistics, inquiring about transportation options and a campus location. “The location is to be in Walterboro,” said Commodore, adding that she has several potential locations already in the works. “The transportation issue is being worked out … it will be contracted out,” she said.

The potential new school would use state funding and a state-based curriculum; however, it would not be tied to the Colleton County School District and would not be held to district benefits or guidelines. “The state would oversee the new charter school, and it would be governed by the school’s board,” said Commodore.

According to Commodore, she hopes to submit the application for approval to the state by mid-March. Then, the state would begin its review process.

Catina Brown is a Colleton County parent who attended Saturday’s meeting. Her son is currently in the seventh grade at Colleton County Middle School. When asked why she is interested in a charter school option, she said her son is ready to be home-schooled. “My son is already looking forward to this school,” she said. “He is so ready for something new, he says the kids in the middle school are so cruel.”

Brown said if the new charter school doesn’t offer the same federally-funded programs or athletics that the public school has, she will “make the sacrifice.” “I would also try to make other ways for other people, start a carpool,” she said.

Commodore is holding a second community forum on the charter school on March 28, at 1 p.m. at the Colleton Memorial Library in Walterboro. “I want to thank the people of the community for their positive feedback, and for their interest, and I ask that we continue to garner support,” she said. “At the next meeting, I hope to hear from more families, from parents. They want to know what parents believe the education of their children should be. No one asks them that.”


Heather Walters (457 Posts)