Three new charter schools are coming to Metro Nashville Public Schools.
The Metro Nashville Board of Education Tuesday night unanimously approved proposals for a new charter school in Whites Creek, another in East Nashville and one in north Nashville, while disapproving the sanctioning of a fourth charter school. Assuming all three are able to secure buildings, each will open in the fall of 2011.
The trio of charters is the first the school board has authorized since revoking the charter of Nashville Global Academy in July after it was unable to pay back significant debt to the school district.
Charter schools have their own governing boards but also receive public tax dollars. To attend a charter school, a student must qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program. A new state law approved in 2008 lifted the cap on the number of charters allowed in Davidson County to 20.
Ironically, one of the now-approved charters, Drexel Preparatory, will likely be located at the former Pioneer Christian Academy building off Brick Church Pike in Whites Creek. The building previously housed Nashville Global Academy.
Earlier this year, the board disapproved Drexel’s charter. However, the Tennessee Board of Education stepped in and recommended its approval contingent upon its founders making a few changes to the charter. Drexel will serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The other approved charter schools, Liberty Collegiate Academy and Nashville Preparatory, will open in East Nashville and north Nashville, respectively. Both will serve children in grades 5-12.
Though the votes for Drexel, Liberty and Nashville Prep were unanimous, several board members said they are concerned that some parts of town –– most notably Antioch –– appear to be lacking in charter schools compared to other neighborhoods.