Another setback To Establish Springfield Charter School

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Smokey Barn News
Friday October 17, 2014
Springfield, Robertson County, Middle Tenn.

Another setback To Establish Springfield Charter School

Back in April a charter steering committee partnered with Arkansas based Exalt Education in hopes of establishing a charter School in Springfield. A “charter school” by general definition is a school that receives public funding but operates independently. Charter schools are often looked at as a way to try and satisfy educational needs in a community outside the operational control of a traditional school system.

Century 21 brick house only 129 adSo far, attempts to start a charter school in Springfield have failed. This week the charter steering committee has suffered yet another setback with a recommendation to “Deny Exalt Academy of Springfield’s application” by the Tennessee State Board Of Education Director, Dr. Gary Nixon. Below is the complete timeline of events from the beginning.

On January 26, 2013 the process starts with a presentation by the Tennessee Charter Schools Association at Springfield City Hall. See video report here.

On  April 1st 2014:  Charter steering committee partners with Arkansas based Exalt Education and files an application to open charter school in Springfield.

On June 24th 2014  Robertson Board of Education denies their application. Soon the application is modified and resubmitted to the Board for reconsideration.

Then on August 25th 2014 the Robertson County Board of Education again denies the application for the second time.

Forward to September 4th 2014, an appeal is submitted to the Tennessee State Board of Education.

On September 24th 2014, a Public hearing by Tennessee State Board of Education is held. After the meeting the State Board employed a team to independently score the application using the Tennessee Department of Education’s scoring rubric. The team also conducted capacity interviews of the sponsor to determine whether the school and its leadership would be likely to succeed upon opening. The application review and interview process were rigorous, according to an official letter from Tennessee State Board Of Education Director, Dr. Gary Nixon.

VolVapor Ad 300Summary of Recommendation from the team:
Since the Exalt Academy of Springfield’s application did not receive “Meets or Exceeds” ratings in all sections, the Charter Application Review Committee is recommends the application be denied.

On October 13th 2014 after reviewing the above mentioned teams research, Director of the Tennessee State Board Of Education Dr. Gary Nixon recommends that the state board deny the application.  “I do not believe that the decision to deny Exalt Academy of Springfield’s application was contrary to the best interests of the students, the school district, and the community. Therefore, I recommend that the State Board of Education affirm the decision of the Robertson County Board of Education.” Dr Nixon said.

What’s left? On October 31st 2014 the Tennessee State Board of Education will be making their decision. Once made, the decision by the board is final.

Smokey was not able to obtain statistics on percentage of times a Tennessee Board of Education goes against a negative recommendation from the Director. We will just have to wait and see how the board votes on the 31st.

To read the entire recommendation from the Dr. Nixon yourself Click Here

Staff Writer 

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