The Chamber’s Charter School Support Network committee met February 24 at New Vision Academy
(NVA), a charter school in its first year of operation just off Murfreesboro Road. NVA grew out of a community-based afterschool program that was established by school founder Timothy Malone in 2001. NVA currently serves fifth- and sixth-grade students, and in addition to expanding to seventh grade next year, the school is exploring adding high school and elementary grades in the future.
The Charter School Support Network is composed of Chamber members interested in this area of reform, as well as representatives from each of the nonprofit boards governing Nashville’s existing and approved charter schools. In addition to taking a tour of the school, the committee discussed Metro Schools’ proposed $100,000 planning grant to the Gates Foundation to begin implementing the city’s new compact of collaboration
between the school district and the charter sector. The committee also heard an overview of charter school legislation pending before the Tennessee General Assembly. The committee voted to endorse HB1989/SB1523, which is part of Governor Haslam’s legislative package. The bill opens enrollment in charter schools to all students (giving at-risk students and those in failing schools first priority), removes caps on the number of charter schools in the state, and allows the state’s new Achievement School District to approve new charter schools.
There continues to be a lot of activity in the charter sector. April 1 is the deadline for charter school applicants to submit their proposal to MNPS for the 2011-2012 school year. The Metropolitan Board of Education will make its initial decisions on these applications at their meeting on May 24. Early indications are that there will be several high-quality proposals. And more will likely be on the way: today Governor Haslam announced
a $40 million charter school growth fund in the state to expand the number of high-quality charters and invest in strong charter school management organizations.
Committee Chair Kim Thomason and the Chamber’s Marc Hill enjoy a light moment with MNPS’s Alan Coverstone and the rest of the committee. Matt Throckmorton with the Tennessee Charter School Association discusses legislative issues with the committee. Click here
to view more photos from the Charter School Support Network.