March 18, 2017 11:01:00 PM
JACKSON -- Nine charter school operators say they're interested in opening new schools in Mississippi, although none of them currently run a charter school anywhere.
Charter schools are operated by private, nonprofit groups using public money. Mississippi allows such schools to open without permission from the local school board in districts that have an academic rating of "D" or "F."
The state's Charter School Authorizer Board announced Friday that two of the schools are proposed for the Jackson school district. Others are proposed for Canton, Clarksdale, Columbus, Drew, Durant, Greenwood and Magnolia.
Mississippi's process has heavily favored experienced operators in the past. Startup groups have had trouble proving they have the money and institutional heft to run a school that meets Mississippi's standards.
All groups must submit full applications by May 9 containing educational, financial and operational plans. Some are likely to drop out along the way or be cut later for incomplete plans. The board is scheduled to vote on proposals Sept. 11, after reviewing applications.
The state board has approved four charter schools so far, all in Jackson, with three now serving 500 children. One more is scheduled to open later.
Charter schools remain a tiny share of Mississippi's overall public school enrollment of 482,000.
This year's applicants include:
■ Clarksdale Collegiate, which proposes to open a school in Clarksdale serving grades K-3 in 2018, growing to grades K-8.
■ Girls Club & Learning Center, which proposes to open a school in Greenwood serving grades preK-5 in 2018.
■ Inspire Charter School, a previous finalist, which proposes to open a school in Columbus serving fifth grade in 2019, and later adding sixth grade.
■ Kingdom Charter School, which proposes to open a school in Magnolia serving grades 5-9 in 2017, growing to grades preK-12.
■ New Visions Prep Academy, which proposes to open a school in Jackson serving grades K-2 in 2018, growing to grades K-12. New Visions seeks approval to run multiple campuses under a single charter.
■ Shades of Elegance Corp., which proposes to open a school in Drew serving grades K-6 in 2018, growing to grades K-8.
■ SR1, which proposes to open a school in Canton serving kindergarten in 2018.
■ Success Prep International, which proposes to open a school in Jackson serving grades 3-6 in 2020, growing to grades K-12. Success Prep seeks approval to run multiple campuses under a single charter.
■ Team Hoyas, which proposes to open a school in Durant serving grades 1-3 in 2018.