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      Florence group wants to start a charter school

      Florence Group wants to start a charter school.

      A group is applying to start a charter school in Florence County.

      The group is made up of community, educators and business leaders.

      They feel a charter school is needed to offer more educational options to parents.

      "It's not saying that other options here aren't good, because we have some good options in Florence County, but we feel like this is an option that is desperately needed in our community. Education is not cookie-cutter. The same kind of education that works for one child is not going to work for every child. And it's very important that we offer that opportunity," said Stephanie Rawlinson.

      The group believes it's imperative for Florence County to have a charter school, and that it will eventually impact the economy.

      "After serving on school board, I looked around and saw how very important it was for economic development. And our very lives in our community is about how we educate children," said Betty Dowling.

      The school would be named Virtus Academy and could house up to 400 children. The group said it already has a waiting list.

      The school would offer a kindergarten through fifth grade education.

      The group's hope is to add a grade every year until it reaches grade 12.

      "The motto of the school is in pursuit of excellence. Everybody is saying that the common is the guidelines in the state. The common core is the law. And you know that's minimal requirements. We don't want our kids , our children to be minimal students. We want them pursuing excellence," explained Bill Pickle.

      The school will focus on respect, responsibility and trust.

      Pickle said, "Those three items, you will not succeed in life if you don't have them."

      The group is still in the process of obtaining letters of interest from parents as part of the application.

      They will state their case to the State Charter School District during a hearing in Columbia on May 19.

      If they get the approval to start the charter school, doors would open in 2015.