- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Nine charter school operators say they’re interested in opening 14 new charter schools in Mississippi.

The state’s Charter School Authorizer Board announced Friday that 11 of the schools are proposed for the Jackson school district.

Four groups that operate charter schools in other states are among those wanting to open schools in Mississippi, and RePublic schools, one of Mississippi’s two current operators, seeks approval for a fourth school. The screening process in the state favors experienced charter school operators over new groups.

Groups that have never run charter schools before propose to open them in Drew, Jackson, Newton and Tunica.

The groups must submit full applications by May 10, containing educational, financial and operational plans, and some are likely to drop out along the way or be cut later for incomplete plans. The Charter School Authorizer Board is scheduled to vote on proposals Sept. 12, after reviewing applications.



The board has authorized four charter schools so far, all in Jackson. Two opened last fall, serving a few hundred students. The proposed new schools could bring as many as 6,500 students to the alternative form of public schools, where private non-profit groups operate schools using public money. That would push charter schools above 1 percent of the statewide public school enrollment of 490,000.

Experienced applicants include:

- New Orleans-based InspireNOLA Charter Schools proposes three K-8 schools and a high school in Jackson, opening in 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022. The schools would grow to 3,045 students by 2028.

- I Can Schools of Maple Heights, Ohio, proposes three K-8 schools in Jackson, opening one each in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The schools would grow to 1,260 students by 2024.

- New Orleans-based Collegiate Academies proposes a high school in Jackson 2018 and reaching 470 students by 2021.

- Dallas-based Excellence 2000 proposes a K-12 school in Jackson opening in 2017 and reaching 350 students by 2020.

- Nashville-based Republic Schools, which already operates one school in Jackson and has approval for two more, wants authorization for a fourth school. Serving grades 5-8, it would open in 2017 and grow to 431 students by 2020.

Applicants that don’t currently run charter schools include:

- Tougaloo College proposes to open a high school for boys in 2017 in Jackson, growing to 240 students by 2021

- Purposed Academy would open a school serving grades 5-11 in Newton in 2017, growing to 252 students by 2021.

- Dr. Jimmy Williams Ministries would open a K-8 school in Drew in 2017, growing to 360 students by 2022

- Bridge of Hope would open a 4-6 school in Tunica in 2017, serving 150 students.

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