Two years after Alabama lawmakers passed a law allowing public charter schools in the state, the first such school is preparing to open later this year, but overall, only a few entities have expressed interest in opening a charter campus.
AL.com reports that only three new public charter school applications were received by the Alabama Public Charter School Commission before the May 1 deadline. All seek to operate beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.
The latest applications seek to open schools in Sumter County, Montgomery, and Shelby County. Because those local school boards have not registered as a charter authorizer, prospective charter operators applied directly to the state commission.
The University Charter School, affiliated with the University of West Alabama, has applied to operate a preK-5 school in Sumter County.
An application from Alabama's Infinity Learning Center seeks to open a high school for economically disadvantaged students in Montgomery County.
The third application is from Merit Academy, which hopes to open a grade 3-8 school in the Childersburg area of Shelby County.
Only four of Alabama's 137 school boards have registered to be local charter authorizers: Athens City, Birmingham City, Greene County, and Macon County.
Applicants who want to open a charter school within those geographic school district areas must apply directly to the local school board.