Valor Classical Academy still doesn’t have a building, but as of Oct. 3 it has a charter.
Grace Schools Charter Authority on Oct. 3 voted unanimously to authorize Valor’s charter. As its authorizer, GSCA will be responsible for ensuring Valor follows the standards and commitments set forth in its charter.
“Starting a charter school is a monumental task. Our board invested many long hours researching and writing this proposal. We couldn’t be happier with Grace’s decision and are eager to deliver this valuable option to Hamilton County. We’ve received such a warm welcome here, evidenced by our growing interest list from volunteers, students and teachers alike,” stated Holly Wilson, a Valor co-founder. “Our next big milestones include hiring our head of school and raising significant funding to cover building expenses. Now that we have an approved charter, we anticipate a great response from our supporters.”
The approval came less than two weeks after GSCA organized a public hearing in Carmel to gather feedback from the community and Carmel Clay Schools officials on Valor and its charter application. GSCA, which is affiliated with Grace College in Winona Lake, is also the authorizer for Dugger Union Community School, Otwell Miller Academy, Seven Oaks Classical School and Smith Academy for Excellence.
CCS officials urged GSCA not to approve the charter at the public hearing. After the GSCA vote, CCS Supt. Michael Beresford stated that “the decision does not impact our commitment to the amazing students, staff, and families of Carmel Clay Schools.”
Valor aims to open for the 2023-24 school year. It has sued CCS for use of the former Orchard Park Elementary building, which Valor officials believe state law requires to be offered to charter schools for $1 because it is no longer operating as a school campus. CCS officials have said they are still using the building for training, storage and other purposes and thus aren’t required to offer the building to charter schools. Previously, they committed to work with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation to transform the site into a park. A judge is expected to rule on the matter by the end of December.
Valor aims to become the first tuition-free, K-12 classical charter school in Hamilton County. It is part of the Barney Charter School Initiative, a program affiliated with Hillsdale College that provides curriculum and other non-financial support to charter schools.