STATEMENT: Shelby County School Board Votes on Charter School Amendments to Increase Enrollment
Changes to go into Effect for the 2020-2021 School Year
Memphis, TN – This evening, Shelby County School Board voted on amendments to charter schools charters surrounding enrollment numbers and operational structure. We appreciate the Board taking the time to discuss and vote on each public charter school’s proposed amendment individually, and not placing a blanket response to every school. Each situation was unique and deserved thorough discussion in order to come to a conclusion that was best for the students, families and communities involved.
The Board voted to allow the students enrolled at five of the eight public charter schools in question to remain in their schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Those schools whose enrollment numbers were allowed to increase were: KIPP Memphis Collegiate High School, Memphis Business Academy High, Memphis Business Academy Elementary, Power Center Academy Middle School, and Power Center Academy High School.
We applaud the district for its recognition of the fact that addressing over-enrollment mid-year after they allowed these students to enroll would have been to the students’ and families’ detriment. We believe it is important to remember that parents have chosen to enroll their children in these public charter schools because they believe this school option will give them the highest quality education and greatest opportunity for a successful future.
The Board voted to deny Memphis STEM and Power Center Academy Elementary Hickory Hill’s request for increased enrollment as well as to deny Memphis Business Academy Elementary Hickory Hill’s request to add elementary school grades sooner than anticipated. We believe that public charter schools should be held accountable for the academic and operational performance of the schools they run. Therefore, we agree with the district’s decision to deny expansion for those schools that were not meeting the quality standards set forth in the SCS Performance framework and those operating outside of their charter agreements.
Tennessee Charter School Center CEO Maya Bugg responded by saying, “I applaud the Shelby County School Board for voting against displacing most of the enrolled public charter students. We are thankful that the Board went against the district’s recommendation in regards to these five schools and ruled in favor of the parents and students. We also look forward to thoughtful conversations with the Shelby County School Board to discuss how to handle over-enrollment in the future, while still giving parents the right to school choice. “