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Seven Oaks Charter School Expanding Despite Low Enrollment

Seven Oaks Classical School is a charter in Ellettsville, Indiana.

Seven Oaks charter school in Ellettsville will add a ninth grade class next school year despite lower than anticipated enrollment for the current academic year.

Board member Terry English says around 165 students are currently enrolled, well below the expected enrollment of 300.

Despite this, English says Seven Oaks will add a ninth grade class next school year, with more to come.

"It has been our plan all along for this to be a self-contained K-12 school," he says. "We've added ninth grade this year as we've promised to do. Next year 10th, then 11th and 12th."

English says since registration opened last week for the 2017-2018 school year, 35 new children have signed up or shown interest in attending the school.

Construction delays forced the school to push back the launch date from Aug. 15 to early September. The school has also faced opposition from some Monroe County residents.

Charter schools are funded through taxpayer dollars. They're overseen by a charter authorizer, not the local school board. Critics say charter schools take student funding away from public schools. Supporters say they offer families more choice.

The school came under fire last year, when they were accused of "shopping" to find an authorizer who would approve their charter. The Indiana Charter School Board originally denied Seven Oaks’ application over concerns the school lacked leadership and the ability to adequately serve low-income children.

The school then solicited, and won, approval from the charter authorizer Grace College and Theological Seminary.

Peter Balonon-Rosen of State Impact Indiana contributed to this report.

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