Changes Proposed For Metro Charter Schools - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Changes Proposed For Metro Charter Schools

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Metro School Board will vote on implementing restrictions on new charter schools.

Budget and Finance Chairman, Will Pinkston said his proposal is about being proactive and having applicants better meet the academic and financial needs of the district. There is a concern that the changes could hinder school choice.

Charter operators have stringent requirements, but have few restrictions when applying to open schools in Metro. Under Pinkston's proposal, Metro would only consider applications that address two specifics needs.

One option includes transforming low performing traditional schools. Similar charter school conversions are already happening at Cameron and Brick Church College Prep Middle Schools.

It is an undesirable concept to many operators who prefer to start schools from scratch.

Another option is to require that applicants locate in areas where there is overcrowding. It is a specific concern for the southern part of the district and is becoming more of a problem in areas like Madison.

Many charter schools already exist in north and east Nashville. If you ask some of them why, they would say that is where children are most behind and where parents clamored for more options.

"Our goal as a school system is to continue promoting and providing choice opportunities," Pinkston said. "But we've got to do it in a way that's fiscally sustainable within the budget."

This proposal will not stop the expansion of existing charter schools and if passed will only be implemented during the 2014 application cycle.

It is all in an effort to curb a projected a $23 million dollar shortfall next school year that Metro leaders say is caused by charter school growth.

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