Citizens learn how to launch a charter school - - Jackson, MS

Citizens learn how to launch a charter school

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

People interested in charter schools gathered at the Woolfolk Building in downtown Jackson Tuesday to learn how to get one off the ground.

Gene Smalley of Tennessee addressed the crowd. He's the Parent Advocate of the Year for the Tennessee Charter School Association. He says his son is reading more, and is more self-confident since getting into a charter school. Smalley encourages Mississippians to explore the option.

Those who attended the meeting learned that a charter school is a public school and receives public funds. But it's established by parents or other community members, and does not have to follow the guidelines of the school district.

Kimberly Smith-Russ, Director of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, says launching a charter school is a complex process, and there is a lot for citizens to learn.

"The first thing is, they would have to have the application for the authorizing board. Even before that, we have to have an authorizing board. Just what is an authorizing board? What does that mean to the process?" she says.

Those who attended say the charter school option for failing school districts is important for the future of the state of Mississippi.

"I do think that it's time for us to do something to help our children, because we're losing a lot of them. We're just looking to explore different options to help our students," says Latrina Gray of Gray & Associates, a nonprofit educational organization.

Mississippi should start seeing its first charter schools in 2014. 

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