7 Shelby County charter schools closing in 2019

7 Shelby County charter schools closing in 2019

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Seven Shelby County charter schools will be forced to close at the end of this school year after landing on a list for low-performance.

After their schools ended up on the Tennessee Board of Education's priority list, about 1,500 students from seven charter schools will have to go to a new school next year.

These seven charter schools will close at the end of the school year, after they were named "priority schools."

  • DuBois Elementary School of Arts and Technology
  • DuBois Middle School of Leadership Public Policy
  • DuBois Middle School of Arts Technology
  • City University School Girls Preparatory
  • Granville T. Woods Academy of Innovation
  • Memphis Delta Preparatory Charter
  • The Excel Center

The Tennessee Department of Education said priority schools are the schools that fall into the bottom five percent in state test scores and have low graduation rates.

A state law says charter schools put on the priority list must close.

Three of the schools, which are part of the W.E.B. DuBois Consortium of Charter Schools, are run by former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton, who’s running for mayor again.

Herenton declined to comment, but earlier this year he explained the decision to close two charter high schools he also oversaw.

"High schools are very expensive to operate,” Herenton said. “So, we don't want to shortchange kids in high school by not being able to offer AP courses, not having the academic qualified teachers to teach."

Given their low academic performance, both high schools would have also likely ended up on the priority list had they not closed earlier.

The closures will leave Herenton in charge of just one school next year, the Du Bois Elementary School of Entrepreneurship.

City University School Girls Preparatory is also closing, but no one from the school could be reached.

The Excel Center, which is run by Goodwill, is another charter school that will close. The Center helps Shelby County adults who didn't finish high school earn their diploma.

Sunday, a representative from the Center released this statement:

Goodwill Excel Center Memphis wants to assure our current students they will be able to continue classes through the end of this academic year, which concludes in June 2019. In the meantime, we are working with SCS to continue operations of our school under a contracts relationship so that we can meet our commitment to help adults earn their high school diplomas. 
Because we are an adults-only SCS charter school, the Excel Center for Adult Learners has faced some unique challenges in meeting seat time regulations of a traditional K-12 school model, and those challenges have placed GECM on the recent failing schools closure list. However, by working with the state legislature and SCS, we are making progress in our efforts to move from charter school to contract school status. We are confident this new model will enable the Excel Center to continue to serve adult students from Shelby County.

Once these seven schools close at the beginning of next year, it will leave Shelby County Schools with 56 charter schools in its jurisdiction.

Copyright 2018 WMC. All rights reserved.