The state of Alabama has approved an application by the Montgomery Education Foundation to open Montgomery County's first charter school system.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the foundation plans to gradually take over four existing Montgomery public schools.
State superintendent Eric Mackey informed the Montgomery school board earlier this week of his decision to approve the foundation's application.
The four schools are Davis and Nixon Elementary schools, Bellingrath Middle and Sidney Lanier High schools.
One of the elementary campuses is expected to open as a charter in 2019. The foundation has not announced which elementary will be converted to a charter first.
Conversion of the remaining campuses would follow in subsequent years.
After submitting its charter application in March, the foundation received conditional approval in May from former interim state superintendent Ed Richardson.
Internal and external review teams evaluated the application and made recommendations to Mackey by Nov. 1.
Because the Montgomery district has been placed under state supervision, Mackey serves as the head of the school system and is the authorizer of charter schools, rather than the board.
"We're excited about this," Mackey says. "We believe this partnership will make these schools and all schools in Montgomery County much stronger."
Legislation authorized the creation of charter schools in Alabama in 2015.