Midlands man spearheads effort to start charter school

Kevin Thomas is heading an effort to start a public charter school in Fairfield County.

Ridgeway, S.C. (WACH) - A father of three children ages 2 to 6, Fairfield County resident Kevin Thomas says he is not excited about sending them to the county's public school system.

"There are good teachers and good students in this county school district, but just from the top leadership; they're not producing."

Thomas sent a letter to the state's Public Charter School Superintendent's office and formed a charter school committee. He says most parents he's talked with are on board.

"I would be surprised if there wasn't a lottery that would have to be held because supply outweighed demand,â?? adds Thomas. â??I can really see that happening because there are a lot of parents that are just unsatisfied."

If the school gets off the ground, it would open in the fall of 2013 starting with grades K-5 and be located in either Ridgeway or Winnsboro. Public charter schools can be funded through local school boards but that is unlikely in this case.

"By doing it through the state charter school district, people from Richland County, Lexington County and Newberry County and surrounding counties can come to this school if they'd like as well," said Thomas.

The 47 public charter schools in the state don't have to follow the same teacher hiring guidelines as traditional schools, but they are held to a much higher standard.

"The difference between the traditional school model and the public charter school model is those that are not performing well, they close and in this state we have closed 20 charter schools in this state since we've had public charter schools in South Carolina," said Education Department Spokesman Jay Ragley.

WACH Fox News reached out to Fairfield County Interim Superintendent Floride Calvert, but she did not want to comment on Thomasâ?? plan.

Thomas says the charter school application still needs approval from the state. Public meetings will be held as the process moves forward.