Davis Elementary is one of four campuses in Montgomery, Ala., that would have been converted to charter schools.

Plan falls through to convert 4 Montgomery, Ala., schools to charter campuses

Feb. 21, 2019
60-day window expires as Montgomery board declines to approve agreement with foundation.

A plan to convert four Montgomery, Ala., public schools to charter schools has fallen through. reports that the Montgomery school board, facing a deadline, has declined to approve a contract with the Montgomery Education Foundation to operate Sidney Lanier High School and three feeder schools for Lanier—Bellingrath Middle School and Davis and Nixon elementary schools—as public charter schools.

Board Member Brenda DeRamus-Coleman says the board couldn't fully evaluate the contract because members did not receive it until Sunday night.

State Superintendent Eric Mackey had approved the Montgomery Education Foundation’s charter application in December. That started the clock ticking on a 60-day period allowed for the board to approve the contract with the foundation, a period that now has expired.

Michael Sibley, communications director for the state Department of Education, says the Montgomery school board’s decision is final.

The schools would have been the first conversion public charter schools in Alabama.

A few charter schools have opened around the state since the Legislature authorized them in 2015. But none of those were converted from existing schools.

The Montgomery charter school conversion plan was conceived as part of a larger state intervention plan into the Montgomery school system because of academic problems. Many schools in the Montgomery system have fared poorly on state assessment tests.

The Alabama Education Association, which represents teachers and education support workers, applauded the Montgomery board’s decision.

“For the board members to be asked to approve a contract containing several hundred pages of technical details about students’ education and the expenditure of taxpayer dollars roughly 36 hours after it was provided to them is not in the best interest of students or taxpayers.” the association says.

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