JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Seven groups seeking to open eight charter schools in Mississippi have moved forward to the next phase in the application process.
The state's Charter School Authorizer Board on Monday voted to accept those applications as complete and eligible.
Existing charter school operator RePublic Schools proposes a high school and a K-8 school for Jackson, while an operator associated with an existing private school seeks a K-5 school in Greenwood.
Three schools are proposed for Jackson and three are proposed for Greenwood. One each is proposed for Canton and Gloster.
Fewer than half of the schools for which operators expressed interest in April moved forward. The board denied three applications as incomplete, while others who expressed interest never submitted applications. Such attrition is typical in Mississippi's multistep process.
The board will now review the applications to determine if they meet basic requirements for quality. Then outside evaluators will review the proposals, interview proposed school leaders and submit recommendations to the board, which will also hold public hearings. The board will ultimately choose from among finalists in September.
Mississippi's process has heavily favored experienced operators in the past. Startup groups sometimes have trouble proving they have the money and institutional ability to run a school.
Five charter schools have been authorized so far. Three are now operating in Jackson, with schools in Jackson and Clarksdale scheduled to open this fall.
Besides RePublic, applicants are:
— Ambition Preparatory Charter School, which seeks to open a school of the same name in Jackson in 2019, ultimately serving grades K-8.
— Girls Club & Learning Center, a repeat applicant from last year, which seeks to open GCLC Charter in Greenwood in 2019, ultimately serving Pre-K-5.
— KMartin Group, which seeks to open Highpoint Academy of Excellence in Gloster, ultimately serving grades K-8.
— Mississippi Community Education Center, which seeks to open the Leflore County Charter School in Greenwood in 2019, ultimately serving grades K-5. The proposed school's founder is Nancy New, who is associated with New Summit schools in Jackson and Greenwood.
— MS Delta Academies, which seeks to open Leflore Legacy Academy in Greenwood in 2019, ultimately serving grades 6-8.
— SR1, a repeat applicant from last year, which seeks to open SR1 College Preparatory and Stem Academy in Canton in 2019, ultimately serving grades K-5.