Birmingham School Board Approves Application to Authorize Charter Schools

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School systems spent the last several months deciding how they’ll react to Alabama’s new charter school law. Tuesday, September 15 is the deadline for school systems to let the state know if they want the authority to approve charter schools in their district.

“In an effort to be a player in this process, we really needed to become an authorizer, so that anyone who is interested in moving forward with a charter school application would have to first come to the school district,” Birmingham School superintendent Kelley Castlin-Gacutan told the board.

Board member Sandra Brown says becoming an authorizer doesn’t mean charter schools will happen in Birmingham right away, but she supports the application since it gives the board some control.

“There is not a choice, period. We’re going to have charter schools in Birmingham whether we become an authorizer or not. But it’s to the board’s benefit that we become an authorizer because we would have control,” she says.

Brown is also concerned about the community’s perception of the board’s decision.

“What I’m looking at is making everything clear for the public. Because with our system everyone is waiting on one wrong move, so we need to have everything on the table,” she says.

Board members still had some questions Monday about charter schools, but Castlin-Gacutan said more answers would come from the state as the process moves forward.

The next big deadline in the charter school process is Nov. 1. That’s when school systems are supposed to have their requests for proposals for charter schools in place.

 

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This is the first school year that third graders who do not read at grade level by the end of the school year must be held back in that grade, rather than passed on to fourth grade. The Alabama Literacy Act was passed several years ago, but its implementation was delayed because of the pandemic.

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