Beaufort News

Riverview Charter School delays enrollment lottery

Riverview Charter School has postponed its enrollment lottery to allow more time to work with the Beaufort County School District and federal Office for Civil Rights on its procedures for meeting minority-enrollment targets.

The school's board of directors announced the decision in a letter to applicants Wednesday.

Riverview had hoped to hold a lottery May 16 to admit new students for next school year. But the county Board of Education planned to review the lottery procedures May 17, after asking the Beaufort charter school to improve them last month.

District officials sent a letter to Riverview saying holding the lottery before it is authorized by the county school board could be grounds for revoking its charter.

"We feel it is important that we try to have a good working relationship with the school board, and when it was clear they were uncomfortable with moving forward, then we became uncomfortable with moving forward," said Robert White, Riverview board chairman.

The school board directed Riverview last month to reopen admissions for next school year so it could recruit additional minority students. The board also told Riverview to revise its lottery procedures to increase the probability of a more diverse enrollment.

OCR said in 2009 that Riverview's enrollment did not comply with the county school district's 1970 desegregation agreement. To comply, Riverview has to reduce its percentage of white students and increase the number of black students over the next few years.

White said Riverview representatives would attend the school board meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday to explain how it has revised its lottery procedures to increase the probability of meeting the OCR targets and answer questions from board members.

He said the school wants to reschedule its lottery as soon as possible so it can let prospective students and their families know if they will be selected for admission.

"It's in everybody's best interest to come to a quick conclusion on this," he said.