Committee applies for charter school
The Springfield Charter School Steering Committee has submitted its application to open a charter school in Springfield.
The application was sent to Robertson County Schools Director Mike Davis, the county Board of Education and to the state.
Davis confirmed that he received the application on Monday, March 31. He said his staff has begun reviewing it.
“We’re going to do our due diligence and totally evaluate the application to determine what action I will recommend to the board to take concerning the application,” Davis said.
The steering committee has chosen Exalt Education, a charter school group out of Arkansas to operate Exalt Academy of Springfield once opened.
Freddie Scott, who manages regional development for Exalt Education, said while his group has been building a case that would support a charter school opening next year, the effort will be challenging.
“The district, for the record, has said, ‘We don’t like charters,’” Scott said. “That’s challenging, because if, at the end of the day, you’re denied and then approved, you’re still going to have to work together when this is all over.”
Springfield Charter School Steering Committee Chair Raymond Francis said he felt confident that once Exalt Education was selected to organize and run the proposed school, they would meet their anticpated April 1 deadline.
“We would love for the school board to accept the application. Its’a win-win for Robertson County,” Francis said. “If we could have the charter school with the blessing of the school board, it’s much more positive for everyone. We’re wanting to work in partnership with the school board.”
Scott said supporters of the proposed charter school are working with Exalt, trying to form partnerships within the community and gain support.
Scott said he realizes the challenges involved in getting approved by the Robertson County Board of Education, but hopes to have more success with receiving the state’s approval.
“The decision-maker initially is the local district,” Scott said. “They have a period to evaluate the application and will either say yes or no.”
Scott said the steering committee is looking around the city of Springfield, trying to evaluate potential facilities for the proposed K-2 elementary school.
“It’s a hard thing to do until you’re approved,” Scott said. “But we are certainly searching the options available.”
The application, obtained by the Times, is more than 250 pages long.
It lists the proposed date of opening Exalt Academy of Springfield in 2015, with two school scenarios.
The first scenario includes kindergarten through first grade with 120 students total. The second scenario would have 180 students in kindergarten through second grade.
Both scenarios have plans of eventually growing the school through the eighth grade with nearly 550 students enrolled.
The school would initially employ teachers to accommodate the classrooms, a principal, a dean of students, a director of curriculum and instruction, a director of finance and operations and an office manager.
Scott said the school district has 90 days to respond to the application submitted by the charter school steering committee.
“If they say no, we have an opportunity to appeal to the state,” Scott said.