(WBIR - Campbell County) Director of Campbell County Schools, Donnie Poston, told WBIR 10News that the school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to withdraw the virtual school contract. The move by the school board comes after officials said they submitted all of the documentation to the state to get approval for the virtual school.
Poston said the state notified the district that its virtual school was likely to be approved for the second semester, but only for students living within Campbell County. According to Poston, that would mean less than 50 students would end up taking courses online.
Larry Nidifer, Secondary Supervisor for Campbell County Schools, said the need statewide is large, since Union County only runs a K-8 virtual academy, and is also maxed out with the number of students enrolled.
"There is a need across the state, but that's 600 miles of students that would need to be monitored," said Nidifer. "If they're not performing, it would be hard to track them and that would affect our graduation rate, since when they are in eleventh grade they would attend a brick and mortar school."
Nidifer said other reasons behind the unanimous vote included heavy paperwork, as well as the success of Union County's virtual academy, which has ranked low among schools statewide.
Poston said overall, opening an online school has not been a good experience. He said it took a lot of time and resources and the schools need to focus on the education at all of its schools in the county.
"When the board approved the virtual school 9-1, it was a shot in the dark to see if it was something that would benefit the kids an the system," Poston said.
In addition, he said there were too many unknowns and in the end it wasn't financially profitable for the district to try and launch a virtual school alone.
As for the future, Nidifer said it's unknown whether officials would try the process again.
"I think that if there's a real need, that this will evolve over time. It may not be instantaneous but I think we do have a need for some sort of a virtual school out there for students that just don't quite fit into the brick and mortar traditional classrooms," said Nidifer.
10News reached out to K-12 Inc. The for-profit group's spokesman said their goal is to serve all districts that want to use their products, but unfortunately it did not work out for Campbell County Schools.