Plans for Knox County charter school moving forward

Plans for Knox County charter school moving forward

Posted: Updated:
Emerald Charter Schools, a non-profit created by the Emerald Youth Foundation, has been pushing to bring Emerald Academy to North Knoxville next year. Emerald Charter Schools, a non-profit created by the Emerald Youth Foundation, has been pushing to bring Emerald Academy to North Knoxville next year.
The Emerald Youth Foundation says they are looking at the old Moses School building located near Mechanicsville as one of the options for the future home of Emerald Academy. The Emerald Youth Foundation says they are looking at the old Moses School building located near Mechanicsville as one of the options for the future home of Emerald Academy.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County schools have taken a significant step towards bringing the first charter school to the district.

Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre is recommending the school board approve the application for Emerald Academy at next week’s board meeting.

More online: Read the recommendation [PDF]

The application was submitted in April and after a nearly two month review, the evaluation committee unanimously recommended the school.

It would be the first charter school in our area and if approved could open its doors to students by Fall 2015.

Previous story: Emerald Youth Foundation makes push for new charter school

The Emerald Youth Foundation says they are looking at the old Moses School building located near Mechanicsville as one of the options for the future home of Emerald Academy. With the proposed opening day just a year away, executive director Steve Diggs says there’s a lot of work to do.

The old Moses school building could house Knox County's very first charter school. The opening date for the k-8 emerald academy is just a year away but executive director Steve Diggs says there's a lot of work to do.

“Being the potential first charter school in town, many people say what is a public charter school? Is that available to my child?” said Diggs.

The K-8 academy plans to target children from the inner city but by law it would be open to any child in Knox County. Children like the McCuen family who right now are home schooled. 

“Charter schools would really be the only other option for us because they do allow children to learn from hands on activities, they do allow them to learn at a pace better suited for them,” said parent Bonnie McCuen.

She supports the idea of giving parents another option but other parents we spoke to say the charter school could take away resources from other district schools.

“It funnels funds, it funnels teachers, extracurricular activities, parental involvement that we’re very fortunate to have in our schools from the district,” said parent Kim Harris.

Parent Sheree Wakefield says she thinks charter schools can be beneficial but wouldn’t want to send her children to one.

“Why not make all schools great not just the charter school?” she asked.

The dollar amount spent per student by Knox County schools will be the same amount allocated to students at Emerald Academy. But the funding will not be taken from the specific school the child used to attend.

“The district just has to reallocate money,” said Diggs.

School board will vote on the application at Wednesday’s board meeting and after speaking with some board members they say they are still taking a look at the application before making their decision. However Dr. McIntyre says he believes, despite criticism over charter schools by some teachers and community members, Emerald Academy appears to be a good fit for the district.

“When the committee took a hard look it’s a solid application, I think our interest is in if we’re going to have a charter school that there's a reasonable likelihood that it will be a quality education experience for our kids and I think looking at this application and looking at our expectations and criteria that this will create a quality educational experience for children,” said Dr. McIntyre.

The school will eventually hold 540 students in grades K-8 but will begin in Fall 2015 with just kindergarten and first grade.

More online: View the application [PDF]

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.