Charter School discussion to be held at Knox BOE meeting

Members of the Knox County Board of Education are expected to tackle a wide array of issues at Monday's work session meeting.

One topic will be whether the school district should bring the first charter school ever to Knox County. The Emerald Academy would open in 2015 if it were to given approval to do so by the school board at Wednesday's full school board meeting.

Last week, Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre recommended the board to approve the idea.


More Information: KCS Materials on Emerald application

"I think what they've done, what the applicant has done, is articulate a plan that has a reasonable likelihood of the opportunity to provide a quality education experience," he said.

The announcement excited Steve Diggs, the Executive Director of the Emerald Youth Foundation.

"Been a lot of work that's gone into this," he said.

If its application is approved, the Emerald Academy says it will offer longer school days and smaller class-sizes to inner-city youth, but not everyone is on board with the plan.

On Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Market Square, teacher and state lawmaker Gloria Johnson will actually hold a rally against Charter Schools.

She said she's concerned those schools will take up much needed funding and will also take smart students and involved parents out of other district schools.

"What happens when Charters come in, those folks who were able to get their parents to fill out the applications, those are the people who already have some level of involvement already," she said. "So those are the ones who are going to go to the charter schools."

But, Diggs disagrees with the idea that his school will compete with others.

"We hope to be very intentional with the charter school to engage more parents and hopefully there will be strategies we can learn that will be passed on to other schools as well," he said.


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