6 charter school applications to be considered

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's Charter School Authorizer Board says groups have submitted six eligible applications to open schools in the current cycle.

Applicants had submitted letters of intent to apply for 17 schools, but a majority did not submit full applications.

Board Chairman Tommie Cardin of Clinton noted that six applicants had been declared eligible this time compared to three last time. He said he hoped potential applicants were becoming more familiar with the process.

"We've got some quality applicants in this round, just as we had in the last round," Cardin said.

The board plans to examine applications over the next month to make sure they all meet minimum requirements for financial, academic and support-service plans before moving to a more intensive interview and evaluation stage, with plans to vote on approvals in December.

Earlier this year the board approved Mississippi's first charter school. Reimagine Prep in Jackson, serving grades 5-8, plans a fall 2015 opening.

Among the groups not moving ahead is Phoenix Early College Charter School in Natchez, one of two applicants last year that didn't win approval.

Volly Davis, the board president of Phoenix, said his group didn't apply because it wanted to make sure it could fully address changes in the application process and was hoping start-up money might become available. He said Phoenix intends to apply again later.

"Oh no, we're not giving up," Davis said. "We're just looking at addressing all the issues that they changed up this time."

Last year's other rejected finalist, Inspire Charter School in Columbus, did apply again.

Another two applicants want to open schools in Jackson and two in Tunica County. One wants to open in the North Panola School District.

An application by Community Charter Center for Excellence to open schools in Amite County and Jackson was rejected as ineligible because the group did not submit a letter from IRS declaring it to be a tax-exempt charity. State law requires the group show such status.


Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy

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