Five new charter schools could open statewide as early as next year if the state approves their applications later this fall.
On Monday, the Charter School Authorizer Board voted to advance the proposed schools and voted against the remaining five that did not meet the majority of the required application criteria.
This round of the process allowed all applications to be reviewed by an external evaluator, who recommended that only four of the ten proposed schools proceed to the next round. These schools are:
- Columbus Leadership Academy, K-8 in the Columbus Municipal School District
- Instant Impact Global Prep, K-8 in the Natchez Adams School District
- Resilience Academy of Teaching Excellence, K-5 in East Tallahatchie School District
- Resilience Academy of Teaching Excellence, K-5 in North Bolivar School District
The board also approved Clarksdale Collegiate Prep, which would serve students in grades 7 through 12 in the Clarksdale Municipal School District, although the independent assessor recommended against it due to issues with the plan that has been submitted and concerns about test results. The test scores referenced were from Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School, a charter school currently in operation serving students in grades K-5.
Board members pointed out that the lowest test results occurred during the pandemic and said the plaintiff should be granted leniency due to the extenuating circumstances. The council ultimately voted 4 to 3 in favor of moving the school to the final stage.
Final decisions for each school will be announced in September.
Charter schools are free public schools that are not under the jurisdiction of a school board like traditional public schools. Instead, they are governed by the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board, which oversees the application process for opening a new charter school. They provide more flexibility for teachers and administrators regarding student instruction and are funded by local school districts based on enrollment.
Charter schools can apply directly to the board for permission if they plan to open in District D or F. If an operator wishes to open in District A, B, or C, they must obtain school board approval local. All proposed schools under review in this cycle would open in Districts D or F.