JMCSS holds special meeting to vote on charter school

JACKSON, Tenn.– Thursday night the Jackson-Madison County School System voted on an application for a charter school coming to Madison County.

This is the second time American Classical Education has applied to build a school in Madison County. They were first denied back in September of last year. Outside of the Jackson-Madison County Board of Education School Service Center, a group of people held signs saying “Vote No” or “Don’t de-fund our public schools, defend them.”

“I support public education without any discrimination. I think taking money away from public schools is the wrong direction to go,” said Bob Vanderlinde, a Madison County resident.

Meanwhile, on the inside, the meeting opened with public comments. One mother express her support for charter schools to come to Madison County.  In her comments, she listed statistics she felt were deficiencies of the school system.

“Our current graduation rate sits at an average of 91.7% while the state average is 89.8%. However our high school students ELA scores indicate that only 24% have mastered or are proficient in ELA. How is it that we graduate over 90% of our students when less than a quarter of them can read proficiently?” said the concerned parent.

After public comments, the charter review committee presented their research comparing the American Classical Education’s application to a standard set by the school district. According to their standards in three key areas: Academic Plan and Design and Capacity, Operations Plan and Capacity, and Financial Plan and Capacity. American Classical Academy scored 6 out of 27 standards met or exceeding and 21 out of 17 standards partially met or did not meet the standard. After this presentation, a resolution to deny the charter school was presented.

“The vote for yes to the resolution to deny the application passes,” said the Chairman of the Board of Education, James Johnson after the board voted 5 yes to 1 no and 1 pass.

However even after the second time being denied, American Classical Education may continue fighting for a charter school in Madison County.

“We know that many members here want this and we know that they want this as a choice for their children. So, our hope is to work with the district here and at some point have a classical public charter school for the kids,” said Phillip Schwenk, the Vice-President of American Classical Education.

American Classical Education will have thirty days to present an amended application to the board and the board will have another 60 days to review the amended application.

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