MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Nine newly approved charter schools will give Shelby County parents more control over their child's education.
In June, Shelby County Schools rejected a proposal that would've saved Jubilee Catholic Schools, which announced in January it would close due to funding challenges.
Two months later, SCS changed its mind and approved the plan to turn Jubilee Catholic Schools into charter schools in the SCS district. The plan creates nine new charter schools.
"It's a big deal. It's a huge deal," Christian Brothers University President John Smarrelli said. "We promised the school board very strongly that what we would do was create a higher quality educational experience for those students, and I applaud and thank the school board for believing us. This is unusual for the school board to approve these six schools."
Smarrelli says thanks to an agreement with the diocese, the new Compass Community Schools will be in the same buildings previously used by Jubilee Catholic Schools.
The same executive director running Jubilee will also oversee the new schools.
But there will be some big differences.
For one, the new charter schools will not be religious or mention religion in any way. The new schools will also have a longer school day.
"We really need to educate our children. We need to offer them opportunities in order to get a high-quality education in Shelby County, and that's the purpose of this organization," Smarrelli said.
The new charter schools will open for the 2019-20 school year.
If all the current charter schools remain open next year, Shelby County will have a total of 63 charter schools.