At least two North Alabama districts to explore creating charter - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

At least two North Alabama districts to explore creating charter schools

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - WAFF 48 News has confirmed at least two North Alabama school districts are exploring the possibility of opening a charter school in the near future.

Athens City Schools held a board meeting on Thursday night and the board gave district superintendent Trey Holladay full motion to move forward with authorizing a charter school in the district.

On Thursday, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the charter schools bill into law. The legislation allows up to ten charter schools to open in the state every year, for five years, starting in the 2016-2017 school year. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that have freedom from some of the regulations placed on other public schools.

Holladay said Athens City Schools pre-contracted with a person from Georgia who has worked on charters in the past. That individual will help the district set up a strategic plan to become a charter authorizer. 

"We already have a quasi-charter in place in our Renaissance Center," said Holladay. "That's the only school we would consider making a charter. That's the area where we are looking."

He confirmed he talked to superintendents from other districts about forming a co-op between the school systems to allow charter schools. He also had a conversation with Athens State University about trying to form a partnership.

Meanwhile, Morgan County Schools are also exploring the idea of charters.

“We are going to look at the option of doing that,” said Morgan County Schools Superintendent Billy Hopkins.

When asked Hopkins said he's all for being the first system in North Alabama to open a charter school. “That would be great,” said Hopkins.

The Morgan County Schools Superintendent admitted he still has reservations about opening a charter school because he's not sure the district has the current set up needed to see one be successful, but he still wants to explore the option.

“Parents should not be worried. They should not be concerned,” said Hopkins. “I think that anytime something new comes about it is our duty to investigate all possibilities.”

WAFF 48 News reached out to several other North Alabama school systems. Superintendents from Huntsville City Schools, Hartselle City Schools, Limestone County Schools, Madison City Schools and Madison County Schools all said they're not interested in opening charter schools. We're still waiting to hear back from other districts.

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