RePublic Schools, Incorporated's application for two new charter schools was unanimously approved by the Charter School Authorizer Board. Any student within the Jackson Public School District will be able to apply, and applications will go to a waiting list if all slots are filled. By 2023, both schools could have an enrollment of 1600 students.
Krystal Cormack is the Vice Chairman of the Charter School Board. She says loss of students to charter schools will financially impact public school districts.
"The charter is approved to operate within the designated boundaries of a particular school district. For Jackson Public Schools, it will mean that they have lost students, and that they will also lose the funds associated with those students," says Cormack.
State, local, and federal funds will follow students if they enroll in a charter school. That's something Jackson resident, Leroy Johnson doesn't like.
"I don't think that Jackson Public Schools can afford to lose 20 or 30 million dollars. I think that part of this is also whether or not JPS has had real conversations with the community or parents," Johnson says.
Despite his objection, Johnson says he knows charter schools can be models for educational reform. Tommie Cardin, Chair of the Charter School Board, says the two new charters will do just that.
"We're really excited about having these two charters in a different location, and providing an opportunity to serve even more students," Cardin says.
RePublic Schools will open Smilow Collegiate, serving grades K-8, and Smilow Prep which will serve grades 5-8.