Private school for low income students opens $4.5 million building

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A private school for low-income families will welcome students to a new building for the first time Tuesday. It's a $4.5 million investment by private donors. The ribbon cutting was a proud moment for those who helped start up and support this one of a kind school.

"If we could get every school in South Carolina to work like Meeting Street Academy, we would be in a much different situation when it comes to education," Gov. Nikki Haley said.

MSA has a brand new building located at Meeting and Cool Blow Streets in downtown Charleston. Tuition is $2 a day, which adds up to less than $600 a year.

"Meeting Street Academy is an opportunity for low-income families in this part of Charleston to succeed, and they've got all the pieces in place," State Education Superintendent Mick Zais said.

Since 2008, the school has operated thanks to public partnerships and private donations.

The school runs year round, and school leaders require parents to remain active in their child's education.

"They have to read to their children. They make sure homework is done nightly. They make sure their children are at school on time, and they have to volunteer up to ten hours a year," Chief Operating Officer Susan Miller said.

Right now more than 100 students attend MSA, which focuses its curriculum on building relationships, excellence, accountability, and leadership.

The state education superintendent says this school proves what he's always believed.

"Poverty is not an excuse. We have high poverty schools across the state that are knocking it out of the ball park and doing very well," Zais said.

Right now children age three through third grade attend the school, and there are plans in the future to expand up to the fifth grade.

Founders have spearheaded a second campus. Meeting Street Academy Spartanburg is set to open this summer.

Copyright WCSC 2012. All rights reserved.