State tight-lipped on deferral of charter school proposal

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 11:45pm
Staff reports

The state Department of Education will not weigh in on the Metro school board’s decision Tuesday evening to put off reassigning a struggling middle school to a charter organization, a spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon.

After working with Metro public schools officials and superintendent Jesse Register to develop a plan to integrate private, charter school operations with the struggling Cameron Middle School, the state’s top education official is sitting on the sidelines for the next two weeks, after which the school board will again take up the issue.

“We’re not going to make any decisions until they make the final vote,” spokeswoman Amanda Anderson said. “We don’t want to pre-empt any of their decisions.”

Cameron has continually failed to meet federal No Child Left Behind standards, and the state’s top education official, Commissioner Tim Webb, has expressed a desire to move quickly and boldly in a new direction.

The school board voted 5-4 to defer a decision on whether to grant a charter organization control over Cameron after debating for about 90 minutes. Several insiders told The City Paper last week that Nashville-based LEAD Academy was the likeliest of three charter organizations to be chosen for the job. Reached after Tuesday night’s meeting, LEAD founder Jeremy Kane would not comment on the board’s decision.

The school board meets again Tuesday, April 27.