School Project Blurs Line Between Public, Private
Project LIFT targets nine city schools
An unusual public-private school improvement partnership in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., school system is raising hopes about its potential for improving the lives of some of Charlotte’s neediest students even as it generates concerns about its nontraditional funding and governance structure.
Project Leadership and Investment for Transformation, or Project LIFT , is a $55 million investment from corporate and family foundations aimed at improving the academic outcomes for a cluster of public schools in west Charlotte that serve some of the city’s most disadvantaged students. The goal is to provide resources and boost the academic performance of the 7,400 students at West Charlotte High School and the eight schools that feed into it.
Project LIFT, which is led by a foundation-sponsored area superintendent who reports to both the private foundations and the chief academic officer of the 141,000-student Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school district, was officially launched in 2011 and entered into a formal agreement with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board in early 2012. Its schools are in their first year of implementation. More than 22 organizations have partnered with Project LIFT, whose 13-member governing board funnels its donations into the Foundation for the Carolinas, a community...
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