School Board Votes On Charter School

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More than a month after a charter school group submitted their proposal, the Jackson-Madison County School Board denied the application in a 6 to 2 vote, Thursday night. It is back to the drawing board for Helen Owens and the rest of her group if they want to make Connections Preparatory Academy a reality. “We wanted to start a charter school because we thought more parents needed an option,” Owens said. “The only option in our city right now is the option of public or private schools that are tuition-based.” But on Thursday night, the school board put their plans on hold. “There were things in the document and in the program that concerned us that we thought the application should not be approved,” Superintendent Buddy White said. White spent several minutes going over the sections of the almost 400 page application and expressed what he felt was wrong with them. He said out of the 21 sections, 17 were inadequate. A big concern was that the charter school would have a “negative financial impact” on the district as a whole. “The funding comes out of the revenue, and we’ve got to patch together the holes in our system that are left behind,” White said. According to board members, about half-a-million dollars would go to the charter school instead of the school district. But despite the board’s decision, the applicants said they are not giving up. They said they will strive to have a charter school in Jackson-Madison County with a business and economic focus. The group has 15 days to resubmit their application, and will eventually appear before the school board again for another vote.

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