KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Schools voted to deny the application preventing the upcoming charter school in North Knoxville.
During the Knox County Schools Board meeting, the members were voting on whether to pass the development of the charter school Knoxville Preparatory School. PREP Public Schools were proposing building the charter school to enroll boys from grades 6-12.
The board members could not come to a majority vote and ended with a split between 4-4.
In the meeting, there were concerns about the application showing inconsistencies between the state data of disadvantaged students who enrolled that the sister location Chattanooga Preparatory School. There was also some inaccurate information provided by Chattanooga Prep about community engagement and no specific plans to support students, including those with special needs.
Those who opposed the charter school were also vocal at the board meeting.
The Knoxville Branch of the NAACP President Rev. Sam Brown, including other members, was at the meeting urging the board members to vote against the school. Brown also sent a letter to PREP Schools Vice Chairs Ted and Kelly Alling and PREP Schools CEO Brad Scott telling them to withdraw the application prior to the meeting.
The organization believes the proposal will hurt the community near the school, which according to them is already under-served. Also because “it could siphon off the top students and some of the public school funding.”
NAACP members and other community members also were concerned about the school is just for boys.
The Knox County School Board will hold a meeting on April 27 at 4:30 p.m. to try and break the tie vote. The county law director’s office recommended having another meeting with all nine board members. Board chair Kristi Kristy said she wanted to make sure they could all attend to avoid another tie.
PREP Public Schools will also get the opportunity to change their application in the next 30 days. Once completed, organizers can send it in for another vote. If the school does not get approved for the second time, they have the option to take their application to the Tennessee Board of Education.
Knoxville Prep has been aiming to start classes in 2024.