26 Groups Have Interest in Opening Charter Schools

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Jackson, Miss. More than two dozen charter school letters of intent have been filed in Mississippi.

Tommie Cardin, the chairman of the Charter School Authorizer Board, said he'd received 26 letters of intent by 3 p.m. Wednesday, two hours before the deadline.

Eight groups say they want to open a school in the city of Jackson, but interest spans 15 districts from Moss Point to Marshall County.

Not all groups who submit letters by Wednesday's deadline will necessarily follow through with an application. Erika Berry of the Mississippi Charter Schools Association says one-third or fewer of interested groups now run charter schools in other states.

Applications are due March 14, with the board scheduled to vote on approvals in June. The board can only approve 15 schools per year.

Here's a list of groups interested in opening schools, as well as the school districts where they would open the schools, according to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board.

Some groups applied to open schools in more than one district, and each district's school is a separate application:

-- Academy of Arts and Sciences: Jackson, Moss Point,

-- Emerge Community Schools: Tunica County.

-- Children Development Center: Panola County.

-- Democracy Prep Public Schools: Jackson

-- DuBois Charter Schools Consortium: Tunica County
and Marshall County.

-- Greater Love & Liberty Christian Center: Leake County.

-- Greater Refuge Inc.: Jackson and two schools in

-- Jackson Medical Mall Foundation: Jackson.

-- KHAFRE Inc.: Indianola/Sunflower County.

-- Kingdom Way Performing Arts School: Jefferson

-- Kings Academy Prep: Marshall County.

-- Nashville Prep: two schools in Jackson.

-- PALS for Success: Amite County, Coahoma County,
Jackson, Natchez-Adams, Wilkinson County, Yazoo

-- Phoenix Project Community Development Foundation:

-- C.C. Smith Leadership Academy: Jackson.

Charter schools are public schools that operate independently and are allowed freedom to be more innovative, but are still held accountable for improved student achievement. Some say they are necessary to offer an educational alternative to traditional public schools that are failing.

Charter schools are tuition-free and open to every student who wishes to enroll, and like other public schools are
held accountable to state and federal academic standards.

Charter schools are free to innovate in ways that improve student achievement. For instance, they may have longer school days.

The Mississippi Legislature approved the formation of charter schools in 2013.