In 2020, sixth graders in Leflore County will be able to attend Leflore Legacy Academy – the newest and ninth charter school approved to operate in Mississippi.
Leflore Legacy Academy will also enroll seventh and eighth graders over the next few years.
Tamala Boyd Shaw is the founder of Mississippi Delta Academies, which operates the school. Boyd Shaw says the charter school offers families another education option.
“Oftentimes in poverty stricken areas, families and students only have one choice because of their socioeconomic status,” Boyd Shaw said. “And we at Mississippi Delta Academies are of the mindset that families and students should not be limited in their education options because of their socioeconomic status.”
Critics of charter schools claim tax dollars from traditional public schools are being diverted to charter schools.
Earlier this month, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the state's method of using tax money to pay for charter schools,
Grant Callen of Empower Mississippi says charter schools are public schools, but are independent of local school districts.
He also said there are many steps for a school to be approved by the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board.
“In fact this year, we had 14 communities file letters of intent to start a charter school, and only one of those 14 made it all the way through the process and was approved,” Callen said. “So it’s a high bar to get approved to start a charter school.”
The charter school is set to open in 2020 and will be the second in the Delta.