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Virginia's First District-Run Virtual School Approved

The Carroll County, Va., public school system became the first in the state to operate an independent virtual school Thursday after the state board of education unanimously approved its request to operate its online primary school as a stand-alone entity, according to a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The K-8, Virtual Virginia Academy has already operated for two years as an extension of the rural district's brick-and-mortar schools. The school, managed by Herndon, Va.-based K12 Inc., has reached 400 students since its launch, according to the school's website, including some public school students outside the county district, who have to pay an annual fee to enroll.

Carroll County is the first district in the state to take advantage of a law passed in late 2010 allowing districts and private companies to establish fully independent virtual schools.

The news is reflective of a trend seen nationwide, where more districts are looking to explore both part- and full-time virtual school options. Some appear to be attempting to avoid the loss of funding that in some states follows students when they enroll in cyber charter schools, though Virginia as of yet has no cyber charter schools.

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