Horry Co. School Board gives nod to new charter school

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Grand Strand teachers and students could soon be welcoming a new charter high school to the area, now that members of the Horry County School Board have given conditional approval to the Palmetto Academy for Learning Motorsports (PALM).

The program aims at helping potential drop-out students receive their high school diploma while receiving workforce training in the automotive, aviation, and manufacturing industries.

"The curriculum was developed by the founder of our current program and he was an at risk youth himself so he knows that the whole motorsports idea gets kids excited about their education," explained Martha Flom, a member of the PALM Planning Committee. "It keeps them involved and motivated."

Since the board voted to conditionally approve PALM, the founders of the school will have to fulfill some specific requirements not met in their charter application, before the board gives final approval. PALM has 90 days to fulfill these requirements. The application for the new charter school serves as a binding contract, under which the Horry County School District would be responsible for funding the new program. School District officials estimate each new student in the program would cost the district close to $6300 dollars.

An amount Horry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Cindy Elsberry said she was hesitant to relinquish in a tough economy.

"The PALM application is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the charter school act," said Dr. Elsberry, who urged the board to vote against the new charter school.

However after several hours of debate the board decided in favor of the new school, with two dissenting votes.

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