Herenton vows to continue fight after charter school application denied

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton
Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton

(WMC-TV) - Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton was denied Tuesday in his plan to open seven news charter schools, but vowed the fight isn't over yet.

Tuesday night, the Shelby County Unified School Board rejected 22 charter school applications, including a proposal submitted by Herenton.

"I think it's a good process," Herenton said after the decision was announced. "So no, we don't feel any rejection at all. This strengthens our application."

Herenton's mission comes at a time when the board is requesting the state put a moratorium on new charter schools, something Governor Bill Haslam addressed Tuesday afternoon.

"I think charter schools being accepted by the General Assembly is going to be part of the answer for education in Tennessee," Haslam said. "Not the entire education, but part of the answer, and I'm not sure right now why we'd kind of freeze out a part of that."

Partly because of Governor Haslam's support for charter schools, Herenton formed the W.E.B. DuBois Consortium, which has applied to open and operate seven campuses by next school year. The Consortium plans two additional schools by the 2013-2014 school year.

"We want to help children in Memphis and Shelby County to receive a better education," Herenton said. "All we need is the opportunity to help kids get a better education. That's what it's all about."

First, the unified school board must accept the application - a process that typically includes several stages of rejection.

Herenton plans to use each recommendation.

"We've learned a lot from the assessment, and we're simply going to comply," he said. "We're gonna correct whatever those concerns were and will re-submit our applications prior to the cut-off date."

That cut-off date is November 9th.

Tuesday evening, the unified school board accepted only one application. Herenton said he is dedicated to this venture, and if his proposal is rejected next round, he plans to keep submitting a modified application until it's approved.

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