Monday, June 6, 2016
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Five applications for new charter schools are moving forward in Mississippi after operators initially expressed interest in opening 14 schools. The Charter School Authorizer Board will consider approving a K-8 school in Drew as well as three K-8 schools and a high school in Jackson.
Submitting full applications for the schools, which are operated by private nonprofit groups using public money, were:
— I Can Schools of Maple Heights, Ohio, proposing three K-8 schools in Jackson, opening one each in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The schools would grow to 1,260 students by 2024.
— New Orleans-based Collegiate Academies proposing a high school in Jackson by 2018 and reaching 470 students by 2021.
— Shades of Elegance, planning a K-8 school in Drew in 2017, growing to 360 students by 2022.
Outside evaluators will examine applications to make sure they meet minimum requirements, notifying the authorizer board of their findings July 11. Applicants passing that hurdle would move on to the final stage of consideration, including interviews and a public hearing, with final votes scheduled Sept. 12.
The screening process in the state favors experienced charter school operators over new groups. Shades of Elegance is the only applicant that doesn't currently run schools elsewhere.
The board disqualified an application from Dallas-based Excellence 2000 for a K-12 school in Jackson as incomplete and ineligible because the group didn't submit recent audited financial statements or proof of U.S. citizenship for two proposed board members and one staff member.
A number of other groups didn't go through with full applications. Executive Director Marian Schutte said Monday that groups that didn't go forward may have decided they needed more time to develop plans or make contacts in the state.
The board has authorized four charter schools so far, all in Jackson. Two opened last fall, serving a few hundred students.
Groups that didn't follow letters of intent with full applications include Nashville-based Republic Schools, which already operates one school in Jackson and has been approval for two more, and Tougaloo College. Republic wanted to open a third school serving grades 5-8, while Tougaloo was proposing a high school.