HomeBusinessACE officially files second appeal for Jackson-Madison charter school

ACE officially files second appeal for Jackson-Madison charter school

It was a little after 11 a.m. on Tuesday that the Jackson-Madison County School Board rejected the appeal by American Classical Education to establish a charter school in East Jackson.

A little more than six hours later, ACE published a press release they’d officially filed an appeal to the state charter commission.

The next move in the process after the school board’s second denial of the application was for ACE to consider appealing a third time, which would go to the state commission, which they had 10 days to do.

Now within the next 75 days, the commission will conduct a hearing regarding the appeal in which both ACE and JMCSS will have their opportunities to speak.

The press release included a message in which Dolores Gresham, a former state senator who’s now the chair of the board in Tennessee for ACE, highlighted a number of the 74 reasons in the report from the JMCSS charter review committee to reject the appeal weren’t based on application requirements.

The statement said identifying a location for the school isn’t a requirement in the process, and a lack of actual location was an underlying factor for many of the deficiencies.

The report said ACE didn’t provide a clear plan for summer learning, but Gresham said charter schools aren’t required to provide summer learning.

ACE said their proposal to outsource special education services, food and transportation to JMCSS was listed only as an option and not the actual plan for those services if JMCSS isn’t interesting in providing those for a fee.

When JMCSS’ report said the application was deficient because there was no plan to help the district recruit and retain teachers, ACE maintains it’s not required to do that but to simply provide a plan to recruit and train personnel, which they said their application did.

They also said they sent people door to door and spoke with more than 70 families in East Jackson about their plan to bring a charter school to that area of the county and they had a number of letters of support from many of those families.

The statement also claims that while some of the 74 deficiencies were generated by the JMCSS charter review ad hoc committee, it accuses JMCSS of using material from other counties’ charter school rejection resolutions in its own.

“ACAJM is aware that a number of the official reasons outlined by JMCSS’s resolution to deny ACAJM’s charter application were never discussed by the official review committee as presented publicly, but instead were generated by the ‘ad hoc’ committee,” the statement said. “This includes deficiencies the ‘ad hoc’ committee took from reviews conducted by other Tennessee districts, which were added at the last minute–within 48 hours of the JMCSS vote on ACAJM’s application.”

Before the JMCSS Board voted on Tuesday 5-1 to reject the appeal, Board member Harvey Walden, who was the dissenting vote, mentioned a few discrepancies he found in the resolution as well, with one example being the report said ACE’s transportation budget after the school’s first year was $12,000 when ACE said it would be $120,000.

Gresham ended the statement saying ACE’s methods have proven beneficial in other school districts where its charter schools already exist.

“It is supported by a growing network of schools, administrators, faculties, and communities,” the statement said. “And most importantly, its establishment in East Jackson aligns with the worthy purpose of the Commission’s championing of human equality and dignity through the expansion of educational opportunity.”

Sunday, Oct. 8, is the 75th day from the filing of the appeal on July 25, so the hearing should happen before then.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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