A second privately led, publicly funded Metro charter school appears to be on the verge of closing.
Drexel Preparatory Academy, an elementary charter school with 240 students, opened only four months ago, but it would shut down by the end of this semester if the Metro Nashville Board of Education approves a recommendation by the district’s charter school office.
“They are asking the board to revoke Drexel’s charter based on numerous concerns that they have had over this first semester of operations,” MNPS spokeswoman Olivia Brown said.
The school board, which has the ability to authorize or revoke charters, closed its first charter school –– Nashville Global Academy –– in the summer of 2010. Ironically, Drexel Prep works out of the same Brick Church Pike school building where Global Academy operated.
The board, which reviewed the matter at a study session this week, is set to consider retracting Drexel’s charter at Tuesday’s board meeting.
According to Brown, Drexel has failed to provide sufficient services to English Language Learners and students with disabilities. She also said the school hired teachers who weren’t properly licensed.
Drexel’s handling of its lunch program for students has raised additional questions, a matter Brown said the state is reviewing.
Alan Coverstone, who heads Metro’s charter and magnet school office and is making the recommendation, could not be reached for comment.
Frank Stevenson, Drexel’s director of operations, called the recommendation for Drexel’s termination “ridiculously unfair.”
Stevenson said the school is already in the process of “remedying” its lack of teachers qualified to instruct English Language Learners.
“We haven’t had due process,” he said. “It came as a surprise. We’re very, very discouraged at this recommendation made by Alan Coverstone. It’s unprecedented for a charter school to be recommended [and then] revoked in the middle of the school year.”
When Drexel initially applied for a charter with Metro, the school board voted down its request. The state board of education, however, stepped in and recommended its approval contingent upon a few changes. The school board finally approved Drexel’s charter 13 months ago.