Birmingham Denies Application For Woodlawn Charter School

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The Birmingham School Board meets in a work session on January 22, 2019.
The Birmingham School Board meets in a work session on January 22, 2019.

Sherrel Wheeler Stewart,WBHM 90.3 FM

The Birmingham Board of Education denied the application Thursday for a proposed charter school in Woodlawn.

Board President Cheri Gardner said an independent team reviewed the application from I3 Academy and submitted its pros and cons to the school leadership. “The application only partially met the standards,” Gardner said. The review pointed to questions about the school’s finances, transportation plan, educational programs and operations.

Superintendent Lisa Herring recommended denying the application, and the board voted  8 to 1. Mary Boehm, whose District 3 includes Avondale and Southside, was the only board member to vote against denying the application.

This is the third time the Birmingham school board has rejected a charter school application.

Charter schools receive public funds but have more flexibility and autonomy than traditional public schools. Birmingham is one of a few public school systems that opted to become an authorizer for charters within its district. That means the local school board can set guidelines for the charter and require that the school meet specific goals.

This is the third time the Birmingham school board has rejected a charter school application. Charter organizers can appeal the local school board’s decision to state. If the state approves the application on appeal, the local school system has no authority over the charter schools.

When Birmingham denied the application for Star Academy in 2017, organizers successfully appealed. The school now has a new name, but it has not opened. Its website states that students will be enrolled from January to March 2019.