In light of what the school district considers a legislative victory in local control, Metro school board members are bracing to review six new charter school applications this spring.
Originally, 10 charter school operators put the district on notice earlier this year that they each wanted to open a school within the district, but only six handed in completed applications to the district this month.
“There will be denials,” said Alan Coverstone, executive director of the district’s Office of Innovation, at Tuesday night’s school board work session. He added charters will have 30 days instead of 15 days this year to offer minor tweaks to proposals after a district rejection.
The Office of Innovation reviews charter school applications and oversees magnet, charter and turnaround schools.
Last year, the district collected 10 charter school applications, ultimately approving five of them, according to Coverstone.
Charter schools have become something of a sore spot for the Metro school board which caught flack from the state and Mayor Karl Dean for rejecting Great Hearts Academies charter school application last fall in light of diversity concerns.
This year, the district was the loudest voice against a legislative proposal by House Speaker Beth Harwell to allow the state to approve charter schools rejected by the local school district, a move in direct response to the school board’s controversial denial last year. The measure ultimately died in the legislature last week.
Charter school applications that were due April 1 are now being vetted by the Office of Innovation at Metro Nashville Public Schools. Once the office gives an application the thumbs up, the school board is expected to vote in late June whether to approve recommended charters, which would likely trigger the schools to open in the 2014-15 school year, although one wants to open the year after.
Of the 10 original applicants who expected to hand in a proposal, one never applied, another withdrew to spend more time on the application, and two others failed to fully complete the application to state standards, according to Coverstone.
Charter school operators still in the running include:
• KIPP Nashville College Prep Elementary School, which would be a college prep in East Nashville for students in grades K-4. To view the application click here.
• Explore Community School, a college prep and cultural heritage of Maplewood and Stratford clusters planned for grades K-8. To view the application click here.
• Nashville Academy of Computer Science (formerly called Nashville Prep II), with a focus on college prep and computer programming in North and West Nashville, serving grades 5-8. To view the application click here.
• Rocketship Nashville, a K-5 school proposing traditional and blended learning in North or South Nashville. To view the application click here.
• Thurgood Marshall School of Career Development, a school zeroing in on high school students who have had some contact with the juvenile justice system, serving grades 9-12. To view the application click here.
• Valor Collegiate Academy, a college prep intending to work with diverse populations in Southeast Nashville, grades 5-12. To view the application click here.