When he got out of the car in Smithfield, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr saw two schools and believed he could tell the difference between them.

Across Booker Dairy Road sat the large, low campus of Smithfield-Selma High School, while in front of him rose the glass façade of Neuse Charter School.

“This looks like a higher-education building,” Burr said of Neuse Charter, the school he was in town to tour. “This is commercially sellable – that’s not.”

Burr was in Johnston County to meet with elected leaders and the county’s economic-development team. He stopped by Neuse Charter, he said, because a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan helped make the school possible and because of the school’s reputation for large-scale success.

“This is one of the great success stories of the state,” Burr said. “Simply with what they’ve been able to do with a school this large.”  Read More