Gov. Bill Lee recruited Hillsdale College of Michigan to open a network of charter schools in the state – a plan he announced last year in his State of the State Address.
Last year, Hillsdale applied to open “American Classical Academy” in three districts – Jackson-Madison, Clarksville-Montgomery, and Rutherford County.
All three rejected Hillsdale and the charters then appealed to the State Charter Commission. Eventually, though, they withdrew those appeals.
Instead, they would submit new applications in five districts – Maury, Montgomery, Madison, Robertson, and Rutherford.
School boards in Maury, Montgomery, and Robertson counties rejected Hillsdale’s new applications.
However, last night, the Rutherford County School Board voted 5-2 to approve a Hillsdale charter that would open in 2024.
More from the Daily News Journal:
The elected school board voted 5-2, to approve the ACA charter school application that would establish a free public charter school in the county. Board members Coy Young and Shelia Bratton voted in opposition. The school would start by 2024-25 serving 340 students in grades K-5 and phase in grades until reaching 690 students through 12th grade by 2029-30.
An analysis of the fiscal impact of the Hillsdale charter on Rutherford County reveals that at full capacity, the new school would drain some $7 million a year from local tax revenue.
Fixed costs account for at least 40 percent of some school districts’ budgets. Nationwide, Moody’s Investors Service found that a growing number of school districts face “financial stress” due to fixed costs. In Nashville, an independent study found that charter schools would, “with nearly 100 percent certainty, have a negative fiscal impact” on the local school district’s budget.
In 2024, when the school opens, it is expected to carry a fixed cost to the district of more than $3 million.
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